March 30, 1991
March 30 1991, pg 207
Zapping the AIDS virus with low voltage
electric current can nearly eliminate its ability to infect human white
blood cells cultured in the laboratory, reports a research team at the
Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. William D Lyman and
his colleagues found that exposure to 50 to 100 microamperes of electricity - comparable to that produced by a cardiac pacemaker - reduced the infectivity
of the AIDS virus (HIV) by 50 to 95 percent.
Their experiments, described
March 14  in Washington D.C., at the First International Symposium on Combination
Therapies, showed that the shocked viruses lost the ability to make an
enzyme crucial to their reproduction, and could no longer cause the white
cells to clump together - two key signs of virus infection.
could lead to tests of implantable electrical devices or dialysis-like
blood treatments in HIV-infected patients Lyman says. In addition, he suggests
that blood banks might use electricity to zap HIV, and vaccine developers
might use electrically incapacitated viruses as the basis for an AIDS vaccine.
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