A new study has revealed that laser pulses turned to a particular frequency can kill certain viruses.
"The capsid of a virus is something like the shell of a turtle. If the shell can be compromised [by mechanical vibrations], the virus can be inactivated," Live Science quoted physicist Sankey of Arizona State University, as saying.
Sankey and his student Eric Dykeman developed a way to calculate the vibrational motion of every atom in a virus shell, so that they can determine the lowest resonant frequencies.
All objects have resonant frequencies at which they naturally oscillate but resonating can get out of control but resonating can get out of control.
An experimental group led by K. T. Tsen from Arizona State University have recently shown that pulses of laser light can induce destructive vibrations in virus shells.
"The idea is that the time that the pulse is on is about a quarter of a period of a vibration," Sankey said.
"Like pushing a child on a swing from rest, one impulsive push gets the virus shaking."
It is difficult to calculate what sort of push will kill a virus, since there can be millions of atoms in its shell structure. A direct computation of each atom's movements would take several hundred thousand Gigabytes of computer memory, Sankey added.
He and Dykeman have found a method to calculate the resonant frequencies with much less memory.
The researchers believe that these treatments would probably be safer for patients than many antiviral drugs that can have terrible side-effects.