MIT Lincoln Laboratory researchers develop a technique to cure a broad range of viruses
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.
As part of the PANACEA (for Pharmacological Augmentation of Nonspecific Anti-pathogen Cellular Enzymes and Activities) project, 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.
Todd Rider invented the PANACEA and DRACO antiviral therapeutics, and previously invented the CANARY (Cellular Analysis and Notification of Antigen Risks and Yields) sensor for rapid pathogen detection and identification.
Dr. Todd Rider, senior staff scientist in MIT Lincoln Laboratory’s Chemical, Biological, and Nanoscale Technologies Group, invented PANACEA and the DRACO therapeutics, and led the team that developed them: Scott Wick, in charge of DRACO production; Christina Zook, in charge of cell testing; Tara Boettcher, in charge of mouse trials; and Jennifer Pancoast and Benjamin Zusman, who performed additional experiments.
In work reported in the journal PLoS ONE, DRACO was shown to be effective against all 15 viruses that the team has so far tested in cells, including cold viruses (rhinoviruses), H1N1 influenza strains, adenoviruses, a stomach virus (reovirus), a polio virus, dengue fever virus, and several members of hemorrhagic fever arenavirus and bunyavirus families. DRACO was also demonstrated to be nontoxic in 11 different cell types representing various species (e.g., humans, monkeys, mice) and organ types (e.g., heart, lung, liver, kidney). In addition, experiments demonstrated that DRACO not only is nontoxic to mice but also can save mice infected with a lethal dose of H1N1 influenza. Currently, the team is testing additional viruses in mice and beginning to get promising results with those as well.
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).
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."
This work is funded by a grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the New England Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases, with previous funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and Director of Defense Research & Engineering (now the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering).
Ed Comment: You got to love the symbolic acronyms that constantly are used by pharma, science and others.
Draco (lawgiver) - He replaced the prevailing system of oral law and blood feud by a written code to be enforced only by a court. Because of its harshness, this code also gave rise to the term "draconian". Listen to our program on the origins on the Law system.
Draco (constellation) - Among alien, UFO and conspiracy circles, it’s believed that a controling reptilian race comes from Draco, Alpa Draconis to be precise. Draco = dragon, snake, reptile etc.
You couldn’t make it up ...well, by now you could.
Worker fired over hospital's hardline vaccination policy 2015-08-04 20:55
Three others suspended under Waikato DHBâ€™s new rule requiring staff to be vaccinated or wear a mask.
One worker has now been sacked for defying a new hard-line policy forcing unvaccinated Waikato District Health Board staff to get flu jabs or wear masks.
A number of staff at the DHB have come forward with concerns since the Weekend Herald revealed that three ...
Bulgaria keeps out migrants with a 50 mile razor wire fence along Turkish border 2015-08-04 20:27 Keep out: Police chief Ivan Stoyanov at the fenceStretching far into the horizon, this is the super-fence blocking thousands of migrants hoping for a new life in Europe.
As police in Calais struggle to contain thousands trying to storm the Eurotunnel in their desperation to get into Britain, the Bulgarian authorities are shoring up their border with Turkey.
The barriers around the ...
DF wants video to tell refugees to stay away 2015-08-04 20:59
“If you want to seek happiness in Europe, Denmark is not the right place.”
That’s the message that the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party (DF) wants to send loud and clear to asylum seekers.
DF spokesman Martin Henriksen is calling on Denmark to replicate Australia by releasing a video in English and Arabic that will discourage asylum seekers from making their way ...
Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state 2015-08-04 18:26
King Willem-Alexander delivered a message to the Dutch people from the government in a nationally televised address: the welfare state of the 20th century is gone.
In its place a "participation society" is emerging, in which people must take responsibility for their own future and create their own social and financial safety nets, with less help from the national government.
Why a Caucasian-Japanese is not Perceived as Japanese 2015-08-04 2:15
The Japan Times has a hilarious article about a White guy who is angry and upset at the horrible and racist world we live in because customs agents and border agents are questioning his "right to be Japanese."
It's seems that Debito Arodou's experience at border crossings suggest that no one takes a White guy seriously, for claiming to be Japanese.