The truth about nanobots and why they’re not in our vaccines – yet

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Nanobots can be built faster than ever with new software, but they are still a long way from vaccine applications.

In an article published in the journal Natural materials, researchers at Ohio State University – led by former engineering doctoral student Chao-Min Huang – have unveiled new software they call MagicDNA.

The software helps researchers design ways to take tiny strands of DNA and combine them into complex structures with parts such as rotors and hinges that can move and perform a variety of tasks, including drug delivery. .

Researchers have been doing this for a number of years with slower tools with tedious manual steps, said Carlos castro, co-author of the study and associate professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in Ohio State.

Using software, researchers can create much more complex – and useful – nanodevices.

For example, it is one thing to have a DNA robot which, after injection into the bloodstream, can detect a certain pathogen. But a more complex device can not only detect that something bad is happening, but can also respond by releasing a drug or capturing the pathogen.

“In the community, people are discussing and building towards better drugs, better sensors, new materials,” Castro told NBC4i. “For my own lab, we’re funded by the NIH… This is aimed at improving a better understanding of cardiovascular disease, drugs or new methods to treat cardiovascular disease, or cancer metastases, things like that. “

Castro sees enormous potential for exciting and positive impacts on society, although some less knowledgeable people fear nanorobotics.

Some of the devices they created included robot arms with claws that can pick up smaller objects and a hundred-nanometer structure that looks like an airplane (the “airplane” is 1000 times smaller than the width of a human hair).

The ability to make more complex nanodevices means they can do more useful things and even multitask with just one device, Castro added.

“We love to build the pitch, we like to bring new people to the pitch in a positive way. The university is well controlled, all these institutions are well controlled.

“DNA has interesting potential for the next generation, the new generations of vaccines, but there is certainly no direct link at the moment with the COVID vaccine… things towards the administration of drugs, towards new biosensors. , for diagnosis, ”said Castro.

“Previously, we could build devices with up to about six individual components and connect them with joints and hinges and try to get them to perform complex movements,” said the study co-author. Hai-Jun Su, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Ohio State in a press release.

“With this software, it’s not difficult to create robots or other devices with more than 20 components that are much easier to control. This is a huge step forward in our ability to design nanodevices capable of performing the complex actions we want them to do, ”Su explained.

Mavis R. Bernier