Saturday, March 03, 2007

Fighting Disease With Itsy-Bitsy Traps

tidbits that tantalize

Careful -

It May Be A Trap...

Anytown, USA - 2am

OK - you can do this. Just like you practiced Saturday morning when she was at the grocery. Remember, it's "Slide, Roll and Tumble." Nothing fancy - just stick to the basics and you'll be out of here in a flash.

You breath deeply, steady yourself and set the routine in motion. A gentle lift of the covers, and you slide to the edge of the bed - so far so good. Step two, you roll to the ground and tumble across the carpet to deaden both noise and vibrations. Excellent! The sound of faint snoring continues to reverberate.

On your knees in a flash, surprisingly agile considering your massive midriff, you crab your way to the doorway. Once in the hallway, you lean against the wall, gasping for air as the sweat courses across your face. Only now do the dangers you face come fully into focus.

Tip-toeing through the kitchen, you catch a glimpse of the prize and your heart races. A side-by-side Behemoth 2000 X-Series with optional soft-serve capabilities. It's a wonder of modern refrigerator technology and your target for a late night raid and refuel. You stand triumphantly at the door, a sinister look of power in your eyes, and pull open the door to the kingdom.

Argh! It can't be - it's...


The shock is simply too much to bear. You crumble to the floor and burst into a fit of hysteria. Undone and outwitted, you simply shrivel away and die at the feet of the Behemoth 2000 X-Series.

Well... Perhaps the "shrivel away and die" is a tad dramatic, but the strategy may nonetheless be quite viable. Researchers have developed a plan to lure previously untouchable viruses to their deaths. Yes, they intend to employ the "Empty Refrigerator" (EF) strategy.

Scientists have long known that certain habitats naturally occur that prohibit the reproduction of specific viruses. By engineering these cells, known as "traps," they theorize they may be able to lure viruses to a cellular structure that functions in a similar manner. Thus, once the virus has attached itself to the trap cell, its future is settled - it has no way to reproduce and, ultimately, the virus dies out.

HIV, for example, attaches itself to the body's T-cells. To spread, however, the virus relies upon components within the T-cell's nucleus. Ah... Now we see where a tiny Empty Refrigerator strategy may be exceedingly useful. What better way to eliminate a greedy HIV virus than to lure it in for a late night snack?

As to the ever-present problem of the late night snack attack? In light of recent publicity surrounding the EF strategy, men's support groups recommend maintaining a stash of suitable snacks in a plastic bag hidden in the toilet tank - and, the toolbox, behind the dresser, atop the file cabinet, in Grandma Ethel's vase, in Petey's toy box, in the vacuum cleaner...

To read more about this research, see this from ScienceDaily.


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