Ultrasound has potential to damage novel coronaviruses

Boston, Mar 18 (PTI):
Coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, may be vulnerable to ultrasound vibrations, within the frequencies used in medical diagnostic imaging, according to a study that used computer simulations. The researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US modelled the mechanical response of the coronaviruses to vibrations across a range of ultrasound frequencies.
They found that vibrations between 25 and 100 megahertz triggered the virus’ shell and spikes to collapse and start to rupture within a fraction of a millisecond. The finding, published in the Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids, shows this effect in simulations of the virus in both air and in water.
The team said that its findings are a first hint at a possible ultrasound-based treatment for coronaviruses, including the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. “We’ve proven that under ultrasound excitation the coronavirus shell and spikes will vibrate, and the amplitude of that vibration will be very large, producing strains that could break certain parts of the virus, doing visible damage to the outer shell and possibly invisible damage to the RNA inside,” said Tomasz Wierzbicki, professor of applied mechanics at MIT.
“The hope is that our paper will initiate a discussion across various disciplines,” Wierzbicki said. The researchers noted that the preliminary results are based on limited data regarding the virus’ physical properties.

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