DRACO: Ebola Cure? MIT Lincoln Laboratory researchers develop a technique to cure a broad range of viruses

Posted: October 5, 2014 in Uncategorized
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The microscope images above show that DRACO successfully treats viral infections. In the left set of four photos, rhinovirus (the common cold virus) kills untreated human cells (lower left), whereas DRACO has no toxicity in uninfected cells (upper right) and cures an infected cell population (lower right). Similarly, in the right set of four photos, dengue hemorrhagic fever virus kills untreated monkey cells (lower left), whereas DRACO has no toxicity in uninfected cells (upper right) and cures an infected cell population (lower right).

Viral pathogens pose serious health threats worldwide. For clinical viruses such as HIV or hepatitis, emerging viruses such as avian or swine influenza, and highly lethal viruses such as Ebola or smallpox that might be used in bioterrorist attacks, relatively few therapeutics or prophylactics (preventatives) exist. Most therapeutics that do exist are highly specific for one virus, are ineffective against virus strains that become resistant to them, or have adverse effects on patients.

..Researchers from MIT Lincoln Laboratory have developed and demonstrated a novel broad-spectrum antiviral approach, called DRACO (for Double-stranded RNA [dsRNA] Activated Caspase
Oligomerizer). DRACO selectively induces apoptosis, or cell suicide, in cells containing any viral dsRNA, rapidly killing infected cells without harming uninfected cells. As a result, DRACO should be effective against virtually all viruses, rapidly terminating a viral infection while minimizing the impact on the patient.

Dr. Rider says that although more extensive testing is needed, “DRACO has the potential to revolutionize the treatment and prevention of virtually all viral diseases, including everything from the common cold to Ebola.” He adds, “Because the antiviral activity of DRACO is so broad spectrum, we hope that it may even be useful against outbreaks of new or mutated viruses, such as the 2003 SARS [severe acute respiratory syndrome] outbreak.”

http://www.ll.mit.edu/news/DRACO.html

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