A New Weapon Against Ebola

1328 Words Dec 8th, 2014 6 Pages
Deoxyribozymes: A New Weapon Against Ebola
Robert Hagerty

Introduction:
Currently there is an epidemic of ebola occurring in Africa. It is spreading rapidly and coming up with an effective treatment or vaccine is important for curbing the disease. However, Ebola has the ability to mutate and would likely mutate around any potential treatment or vaccine developed. This raises important questions in the area of treatment. Generally, creating new medications takes many years and cannot hope to keep up with viral diseases.
One area of antiviral treatment involves finding enzymes that will selectively disintegrate the protein constructs of viruses or selectively cleave viral RNA. There are many different types of biological polymers that have been tested to determine their possible antiviral properties. One relatively new class of polymer to enter this arena is deoxyribonucleic acids. Deoxyribozymes, or DNAzymes as they have been called, turn out to be quite versatile. DNAzymes have been used in metal detection1, control of gene expression in cancer2, and as logic gates3.
The benefits of developing this method of treatment for Ebola are numerous. Currently, the only vaccines and treatments are expensive and in low supply. DNAzymes are created from DNA and are therefore not expensive to make and highly adaptable. Furthermore, DNAzymes are non-toxic to the body. Because DNAzymes involve a DNA strand they are highly adjustable they can keep up with evolving viruses and help…
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