Laser Technology Could Be Used To Protect Against HIV, Study Says
A type of infrared laser technology could be used to protect the human immune system against HIV, as well as other viruses and infections, without causing side effects, according to a study published in the Nov. 1 issue of the Journal of Physics: Condensed Matters, BBC News reports.
For the study, lead researcher Kong-Thon Tsen of Arizona State University and colleagues used infrared femtosecond lasers with carefully specified wavelengths to target viruses and bacteria without harming other cells. The technology, called Impulsive Stimulated Raman Scattering, generates vibrations that can destroy the protein coat of microorganisms. The researchers said they found a level of vibration that "inactivates both viruses and bacteria while leaving sensitive materials such as mammalian cells unharmed." The researchers said they have conducted experiments using the laser technology on E. coli bacterial cells, Tobacco Mosaic Virus cells, and human and hamster cells.
Kong-Thon said that the "research so far suggests that ISRS will be ready for use in disinfection and could provide treatments against some of the worst, often drug-resistant, bacterial and viral pathogens." Jean-Yves Maillard, senior lecturer in pharmaceutical microbiology at Cardiff University, said the technology is "interesting" but added that it is "at a very preliminary stage, and any application in humans is a long way off" (BBC News, 11/6).
An abstract of the study is available online.