November 7, 2007 Current laser treatments for virus and disease can be more harmful than effective, sometimes causing damage to DNA and even skin cancer. Now groundbreaking research has developed a new technique that uses lasers to destroy viruses and bacteria, including AIDS and Hepatitis, without causing harm to the human cells of the infected person.

The research was conducted by Physicists from Arizona State University and published in the Institute of Physics' Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter. It discusses how pulses from an infrared laser can be fine-tuned to discriminate between problem microorganisms and human cells. The research was based on putting femtosecond (one billionth of one millionth of a second.) laser pulses through a process which then produces lethal vibrations in the protein coat of microorganisms. In doing so, the vibrations destroy the microorganisms and thereby can work to disinfect blood and treat blood-borne diseases.

The physicists involved in the research believe the treatment destroys the virus but not the human cells due to the different structural compositions on the protein coats of the human cells and the bacteria and viruses. Beyond being a treatment for disease, the technique may also be effective in reducing the spread of infections such as MRSA in hospitals.