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DNA Origami Traps Treat Viral Infections

The tiny structures encapsulate viruses and prevent them from infecting human cells.

A recent New Atlas article discussed an innovative new way to treat viral infections: with origami! A team at the Technical University of Munich devised a way to fold DNA into micro-capsules capable of grabbing hold of viruses and demobilizing them. The key is specialized binding points inside the capsules that allow them to close, creating a hollow body that traps the virus and prevents it from infecting cells.

The tiny traps are in the shape of an icosahedron, which consists of 20 triangular planes. The outer surfaces are irradiated with UV light and treated with polyethylene glycol and oligolysine, which prevent them from degrading inside the body. In tests, the structures remained stable in a serum for 24 hours and trapped two types of viruses, preventing them from infecting human cells. The next step is to test the structures in mice and then humans.

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