We all know that a viral infection can be developed extremely quickly, but in fact its even more dramatic than that - the process is literally explosive.
The pressure inside a virus is 40 atmospheres, and it is just waiting for an opportunity to blow up. The virus is like a living DNA cannon. How this cannon functions has been mapped by Dr. Alex Evilevitch at the Department of Biochemistry at Lund University in Sweden. This is knowledge that will have applications in gene therapy, drug development, nanotechnology and the treatment of infections. This involves a new type of virus research that is based more on physics than biochemistry. Perhaps it could be called virus biophysics. Alex Evilevitch took his doctorate at Lund in physical chemistry and worked for a few years at UCLA.
"There I met Professor William Gelbart, who predicted on theoretical grounds that the pressure in a bacteriophage - a virus that attacks bacteria must be 40 atmospheres," explains Alex Evilevitch. "This roughly corresponds to the pressure at a depth of 400 meters under the sea. Thats twenty times more than the pressure in a car tire and ten times more than the pressure in an unopened bottle of champagne. Using measurements, I was able to confirm that Professor Gelbarts prediction was accurate."
Göran Frankel | alfa
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