London: Scientists have turned bacteria,
found in yogurt, into "silver bullets" which they claim could
destroy viruses and provide a cure for flu and common cold.
A team at the University of Ghent in Belgium has, in
fact, discovered that it can attach tiny studs of silver onto
the surface of otherwise harmless bacteria, giving them the
ability to destroy viruses.
The scientists have tested the silver-impregnated
bacteria against norovirus -- known to cause 90 per cent of
the gastroenteritis cases around the world -- and found that
they leave the virus unable to cause infections.
They now believe that the same technique could help
to combat other viruses, including influenza and those causing
the common cold.
Prof Willy Verstraete, who led the team, said that
the bacteria could be incorporated into a nasal spray, water
filters and hand washes to prevent viruses from being spread.
He was quoted by `The Daily Telegraph` as saying, "We
are using silver nano particles, which are extremely small but
give a large amount of surface area as they can clump around
the virus, increasing the inhibiting effect.
"There are concerns about using such small particles
of silver in the human body and what harm it might cause to
human health, so we have attached the silver nano particles
to the surface of a bacterium. It means the silver particles
remain small, but they are not free to roam around the body."