I have already mentioned DRACOs some time ago, but if you’ve never heard of them before, DRACOs may well be a Doomsday machine for viruses. The acronym stands for Double-stranded RNA Activated Caspase Oligomerisers, and in a nutshell it means DRACO detects cells containing viruses and kills them off by inducing apoptosis (or cell suicide). The result is, the infected cell and the virus(es) it contained die together, preventing further viral replication and halting the infection. Infected cells usually die anyway, so there isn’t much to lose with this approach, but there’s a lot to gain. DRACOs do not target specific viruses, but rather a specific aspect of the viral replication mechanism, which is the same in almost all known viruses. The bottom line is, DRACOs could be able to revolutionise the way we treat viral diseases, in pretty much the same way antibiotics revolutionised our way of dealing with bacterial infections. We’re not talking just about crappy viruses like the common cold virus, but also way tougher customers like Ebola and HIV. Further information can be found for example here.
DRACOs have shown extremely promising results in animal tests, clearing mice clean of some 15 different types of viruses, but there’s still a lot of research to be done before we can use DRACOs in humans. Presently, DRACO research is funded only through crowdfunding campaign like this one.
I encourage to donate if you can, and help bring about the demise of all those infectious little suckers with a passion for killing people.