Scientists have developed a “virus sponge” that could filter a patient’s blood in a process similar to kidney dialysis, a technology which may be used to remove virus from a patient’s body, or to reduce glucose levels among diabetics.
The virus sponge is based on a technology called molecular imprinting. In molecular imprinting, researchers stamp a molecule’s shape into a substance (in this case, a hydrogel-a material that looks like a powder when dry; and like Jell-O when wet). When the specific molecule filters through the hydrogel, it fits in the imprint hole and is trapped.
The techniques has been tested on plant viruses and Human Parvovirus B19, which causes “fifth disease” in babies. Tests are underway on the H5N1 influenza virus