Hepatitis C kills a lot of people. In fact, it kills more people than HIV, and while there's been progress to finding a reliable vaccine, there hasn't been any breakthrough just yet. Until now. Researchers have developed a nanoparticle that can effectively kill hepatitis C 100 percent of the time.
Researchers from the University of Florida have developed a "nanozyme". Based around gold nanoparticles, these things have their surface coated with two biological agents. One, an enzyme that attacks and kills the mRNA which allows hepatitis C to replicate, and the other is a short string of DNA which identifies the disease and sends the enzyme off to kill it.
Current treatments attack the same replication process and only work about 50 percent of patients treated. According to lab tests reported in PNAS, researchers have shown that their approach was 100 percent effective in both cell cultures and in mice with no side effects on either model.
That's great news! But still, like any other treatment discovered, they've got a long way off to becoming available to patients just yet. All targeted drugs have to be tested with care and extreme, because there's always a risk that it could end up targeting healthy parts of the body. Let's hope the testing happens ASAP. [PNAS via IEEE Spectrum]