Last week IBM announced that it had discovered a macromolecule capable of eradicating hundreds of viruses.
Beginning with the shrewd latest Zika Virus and moving on to other known deadly viruses like the Ebola or Influenza, the macromolecule can cripple a virus’ resistance to drugs.
The multi-chemical constructed molecule was developed by IBM in partnership with the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) in Singapore. The companies are partners for over 12 years.
They have worked together in infection disease control situations, drug and gene delivery. The technology used by IBM to develop semiconductors or make polymers is directly applicable in medicine.
The macromolecule created by the two joint forces implies three secret weapons in its virus killing spree. One of them is the “electrostatic bonds” that attach on the disease causing virus and prevents it from infecting healthy cells. Another one neutralizes virus acidity levels and makes it less prone to replicating.
And the last final blow comes from the “mannose,” a type of sugar which binds to the immune system’s little helpers, attracts the virus and then corners and destroys it.
The macromolecule proved efficient in lab studies against several viruses (like the herpes simplex, dengue, and Ebola), but the most persistent concerns come from the worldwide birth defects caused by the Zika virus.
However, at the time scientists had engineered this molecule, Zika was yet to emerge, and they didn’t include it in the studies.
The macromolecule is very likely to eradicate the Zika outbreaks, nonetheless, because Zika is similar to dengue 2 – one of the four virus’ serotypes.
IBM is currently looking for a pharmaceutical company to produce a Zika treatment or vaccine with their technology. Watson and their Watson Discovery Advisor might help process data gathered from clinical trials and accelerate the treatment discovery.
The IBM macromolecule could also be manufactured into sprays used to fog infected hospital rooms with suspended water macromolecules that would bind with the virus and slowly eliminate it.
The most important aspects of the virus tackling macromolecule are the anti-virus action regardless of mutations, the safety it provides for healthy cells and its multi-branch subunit composition set.
With further university and organization collaborations, the company hopes to identify new and exciting applications for the macromolecule.
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