Global Technology - March 2020

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What new technologies will dramatically transform your world?  We’ll present an exclusive preview of the stunning breakthroughs emerging from the world’s leading research labs. 

As recently explained in the journal Science Advances, a collaborative team of international scientists has developed a new antiviral substance made from sugar which destroys viruses on contact.  This new development has shown promise for the treatment of herpes simplex, hepatitis C, HIV, and Zika virus to name just a few.  In the lab, the team demonstrated success in treating numerous viruses responsible for diseases ranging from respiratory infections to genital herpes.

Although it’s still at a very early stage of development, the broad-spectrum activity of this new treatment could make it effective against newly prevalent viral diseases such as the recent coronavirus outbreak.

Today’s so-called ‘virucidal’ substances, such as bleach, are typically capable of destroying viruses on contact, but are extremely toxic to humans and so cannot be taken or applied to the human body without causing serious harm.  On the other hand, today’s nontoxic antiviral drugs work by inhibiting virus growth, but they are not always reliable as viruses can mutate and become resistant to these treatments.  Developing virucides from sugar allows for the advent of a new type of antiviral drug, which destroys a wide range of viruses yet is non-toxic to humans.

The modified sugar molecules disrupt the outer shell of a virus, destroying it on contact, rather than simply restricting its growth.  Furthermore, the new approach has been shown to defend against drug resistance.

The researchers successfully engineered the modified molecules from natural glucose derivatives, known as cyclodextrins.  The molecules attract viruses before breaking them down on contact, destroying the virus and fighting the infection.

This is a new type of antiviral and one of the first to ever show broad-spectrum efficacy, it has the potential to be a game-changer in treating viral infections.  And it could also be game-changing in terms of dealing with new emerging infections that are not well understood.

The molecule is patented, and a spin-out...

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