kaliann writes: Researchers from MIT have cobbled together a chimerical protein called DRACO that causes virus-infected cells to self destruct. Cell defenses already recognize long double-stranded RNA, a form of genetic material not normally produced in mammals, but which is a starting or intermediate step for most viruses. Viruses have numerous mechanisms for evading detection, but this new technique directly couples the recognition of dsRNA to a domain that initiates cell death when crosslinked. This technique affects almost all viruses except, sadly, retroviruses, which don't have a dsRNA stage. Still, an impressive step in the fight against viral diseases; it has already shown to be effective against influenza, adenovirus, and several others in vitro, and effective in mice against influenza.
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