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Killing Viruses with Light

I like the sound of this:

Visible light pulses knock out viruses in blood

Viruses lurking in biological samples could be killed off with an intense pulse of visible light, new research shows.

Scientists in the US say the technique seems to have significant advantages over alternative methods, including use of UV irradiation or microwaves, as it kills viruses more effectively and safely.

The technique destroys a virus with a pulse of light from a low-power laser. The pulse produces mechanical vibrations in the virus shell, or capsid, irreversibly damaging and disintegrating it, and so "deactivating" the virus for good. The technique might be used to kill HIV, as well as hepatitis C, say the researchers involved.

This approach is a big improvement over other forms of radiation, which can cause a virus to mutate into even nastier forms, or which can damage nearby healthy cells. The laser light is purple in color, and the blast lasts only 100 femtoseconds. Amazing.

purplelight.jpg

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