Scientists could be one step closer to wiping out COVID-19 after having created a cold plasma jet which drastically limits the virus’ capabilities.
A research team from the Leibniz Institute for Plasma Science and Technology (INP) in Greifswald, Germany, treated hepatitis viruses from mice.
The targeted hepatitis virus is a taxonomic relative of the human COVID-19 virus, according to the institute’s director, Prof Dr Thomas von Woedtke.
Prof Woedtke is convinced that the new method “promises innovative therapies for the corona pandemic and other infectious diseases.”
He said: “Our goal is a plasma device that can be used to combat viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 directly on the oral mucosa.
“The laboratory results are an important step in this direction. We were able to identify the mechanism of inactivation of the viruses.
“From this, a variety of new, innovative approaches for the therapy and prevention of pandemics and infections in general can be derived.”
The INP researchers’ study shows that the ability of viruses to penetrate cells is significantly reduced after contact with their newly developed plasma jet.
The effect is due to free radicals that are formed in the plasma, according to the experts.
Physical plasma has been described as the fourth state of matter.
Plasma medicine is an emerging field that combines plasma physics, life sciences and clinical medicine.
It is being studied in disinfection, healing, and cancer. Most of the research is in vitro and in animal models.
Clinical successes are being recorded in particular in the healing of chronic wounds.
Cold physical plasma is capable of effectively killing pathogens and thus fighting wound infection.
Medical plasma jets have been in use since the mid-2000s. As they can maintain temperatures below 40 degrees centigrade, plasma jets can come in touch with soft matter such as biological tissues without causing thermal damage.
The INP researchers underline that “prevention and control of infections have become more important as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“More than ever, new measures and approaches are needed to protect people and health systems from the consequences of the pandemic.”
Their study has been published in the journal Free Radical in Biology & Medicine.
The Leibniz Institute for Plasma Science and Technology (INP) is one of Europe’s leading non-university institutes in the field of low temperature plasmas.
It is located in Greifswald, in the German State of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
To find out more about the author, editor or agency that supplied this story – please click below.
Story By: Thomas Hochwarter, Sub-Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash
The Ananova page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.