Much of the international efforts during 2020 and early 2021 were for the analysis, development and research of the SARS-CoV-2 virus as well as for a vaccine against it. Now, in a study carried out by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), it was proven how ultrasound waves are capable of collapsing and breaking the structure of the coronavirus.
Four MIT engineers, Tomasz Wierzbicki, Wei Li, Yuming Liu, and Juner Zhu looked for the effects of ultrasound waves on the receptors of the coronavirus family. The study was published in the Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids and describes the computer simulations performed to find the result.
From the general knowledge about this family of viruses to which SARS-CoV-2 belongs, it was known about the lipid protein barrier and the crown-shaped receptors that form it. With this information, the MIT team computer modeled a structure as close as possible to what the coronavirus would be like.
In the experiment, this coronavirus structure was exposed to 100 megahertz ultrasound, in response the barrier and the receptors bent inward. This happened in a fraction of a millisecond, when the external vibrations resonated with the natural oscillations of the virus.
“We have shown that under ultrasound excitation, the coronavirus layer and peaks will vibrate, and the amplitude of that vibration will be very large. Producing strains that could break down certain parts of the virus, causing visible damage to the outer shell and possibly invisible damage. on the RNA within. The hope is that our paper will start a debate across disciplines, “said Tomasz Wierzbicki, professor of applied mechanics at MIT and lead author.
The simulation showed that this acoustic resonance phenomenon was even faster with frequencies of 25 and 50 MHz. Furthermore, the coronavirus structure collapsed in air and water, a liquid with the same density as body fluids.
Thanks to this discovery, the MIT team is working with other international teams to verify their simulation in reality. If ultrasound waves are proven as an effective treatment, it could be carried out globally to prevent the spread of more people, especially where vaccines have not yet arrived. Engineers see this treatment in the future as something even available as a portable shield if these signals are allowed to be sent by mobile devices.