Sunday, November 11, 2007

A laser that kills viruses?

I've been using lasers in my clinical practice for almost 10 years now and there is no way I would ever go back to practicing without them. They are efficient, fast, and the lack of post-op discomfort, even on aggressive soft tissue surgery is amazing.

Now, we may be entering a new era of laser usage in medicine. Researchers at Arizona State University have announced they have developed a laser that kills viruses. Lasers have been able to kill viruses before this discovery, but what these researchers have developed is a laser that accomplishes this without the use of heat. This allows the laser to kill the virus without any collateral damage of surrounding healthy cells.

The laser emits Fento-second pulses that, instead of creating heat, create a vibration that basically shatters the protein coat of the target and destroys it while leaving surrounding healthy structures in tact.

The laser may be in the dermatology market in 18 months and be used to remove cancers and moles. Researchers are hoping to also use it to kill HIV viruses as well.

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