While Americans worry every year about getting a flu shot or preventing HIV/AIDS, the deadlier silent is actually Hepatitis C; killing over 15,000 people yearly in the U.S. since 2007 and the numbers continue to increase as the carriers increase in age. While there is no vaccine, there is hope in nanoparticle technology.
The breakthrough came from a group of researchers at the University of Florida, creating a “nanozyme” that eliminates the Hep C 100% of the time; before now, the six-month treatment would only work about half the time. The particles are coated with two biological agents, the identifier and the destroyer; the identifier recognizes the virus and sends the destroyer off the eliminate the mRNA, which allows Hep C to replicate.
There is good and, unfortunately, disappointing news with this discovery. The good news is that the mice test subjects have displayed no side effects from this new treatment, but (this is the disappointing part) because it is still just in the rodent testing stages it is still a long way away from human trials, much less public use. However, it is hope for the future and it may lead towards treatments in other fatal diseases like HIV/AIDS or even a vaccine if all goes well.