Investigators create groundbreaking ultrasound therapies that could destroy COVID-19.
According to the CDC, more than 250 million individuals have tested positive with COVID-19 since March 2020. Scientists worldwide have been working feverishly to determine the most effective means of preventing and treating the illness, including anything from facial coverings to immunizations.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Department of Mechanical Engineering discovered that ultrasonic vibrations might cause the coronavirus to lose its form, opening the door for a revolutionary solution to the public health problem.
According to the findings, researchers used computer simulations to see the structure of the coronavirus and simulate its responses to ultrasonic vibrations of several frequencies.
Their research discovered that frequencies between 25 and 100 megahertz cause the shell and spikes of virus cells to crumble and break down.
Developing a model that effectively simulates the behavioral and structural characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 was a daunting task for the researchers. We still don’t know much about the unique virus’s physical makeup, frustrating.
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“We don’t understand the material characteristics of the spikes since they are so small, roughly 10 nanometers in height,” says Tomasz Wierzbicki, a professor of applied dynamics at MIT, in a press statement issued by the institution.
Moreover, “what’s within the virus, which is not vacant but rather loaded with RNA, which is itself encased by a protein capsid shell,” says the researcher, “is even more mysterious.”
Vibrating our path out of the epidemic?
Researchers used elasticity shells and peaks to simulate the virus’s architecture and then tested the model with differing proportions of ultrasonic vibrations to see how it performed.
The scientists discovered that frequencies ranging from 25MHz to 100MHz caused the model to crumble in both air and water, with the model collapsing in on itself at a higher frequency and collapsing much quicker at low frequency.
Although vaccines against the viruses are now widely available, finding effective therapies for those who get COVID-19 has proven to be tough.
The outcomes of this study provide a good hint that ultrasound technology may be a viable option for treating coronavirus patients effectively in the future.
“We’ve demonstrated that the coronavirus shells and spikes will shake when subjected to ultrasonic stimulation,” adds Wierzbicki. It is predicted that “the amplitude of that vibration will be quite significant, resulting in strains that might break some portions of the virus, causing obvious damage to the outside shell and perhaps invisible harm to the RNA inside.”
However, this discovery also creates even more issues that will need to be investigated more in the future.
Scientists must comprehend how ultrasound therapies function outside of a computer and within a real human body. They must also comprehend how doctors would give the treatments to COVID-19 patients.
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“We hope that our work will serve as a springboard for debate across a wide range of fields,” adds Wierzbicki.
The research team, which includes Wierzbicki’s co-authors Wei Li, Yuming Liu, and Juner Zhu of MIT, believes that their results will spur other scientists to investigate this novel therapeutic option in the future.
As Wierzbicki adds, “the possibility is something that may be beneficial in the current dire circumstances.”
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