Physics professor K.T. Tsen announced last week that he successfully destroyed common viruses using pluses from an infared laser without harming the surrounding cells. Tsen's primary focus is to use the technique against HIV, though he states the future of the laser may very well be in treating disease, not viruses. So, how does it work?
The laser produces a vibration that shatters the protein coat of microorganisms without causing residual damage to the surrounding human cells. Currently, we use ultraviolet lasers that use heat to fry cells, which can lead to mutations, so this is a very different approach to dealing with viruses.
What you have people asking is, ‘Are there other ways to tackle medical problems like cancer?' Cancer treatment today is pretty barbaric. We're looking for a cleaner, less toxic treatment.
The technology may be used in as soon as 18 months for treating skin cancer and removing moles. According to a laser manufacturing official, the process could be used not only against HIV, but hepatitis, cancer and eye/dental surgeries.
Professor develops laser to fight viruses [State of Press]