Some of the biggest human health threats facing the world today come from viruses which can cause anything from the common cold to deadly hemorrhagic fevers like Ebola. Over the years, researchers have struggled to find an efficient way to treat viral infections, leaving many people to struggle with disease. Now, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
have announced the creation of a broad spectrum treatment for viral infections that works by killing just the cells in the body infected with the virus.
The research was led by a team from MIT's Lincoln Laboratory
and was published in the journal PLoS One.
Invented by researcher Todd Rider
, the treatment is a drug called DRACOs
(Double-stranded RNA Activated Caspase Oligomerizers). It was tested on human cells in a lab and in mice against 15 different viruses and was effective against all of them, including the common cold, H1N1 (swine flu), influenza, polio, and dengue fever.