Could a prion be used to sufficiently deform a viral protein in order to make the virus it is a part of incapable of reproducing? For example, take the common cold's VP1 protein and turn it into a prion, then inject that prion into someone with a cold. Would this prion ever come into contact with the virus? Would it actually deform the virus? Can we make prions?
closed as primarily opinion-based by anongoodnurse, Chris♦, MattDMo, ddiez, Bez Dec 27 '14 at 11:48
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Prions are misfolded "versions" of proteins already present in the genome. These tend to bind to their properly folded counterparts and catalyze their misfolding into prions. Although unlikely, it is not impossible to imagine that they might interact with other macromolecules. That being said, injecting a human with prionic particles for any reason (especially in a clinical trial for the common cold) is EXTREMELY unlikely. Even if you prove that it works in animal models, injecting a person would be considered too risky. Additionally, the "benefit" of that would be marginal - curing the common cold, from which > 99% of people recover even without any medication. Given that there is great risk and very little benefit, we will most likely never know for sure how feasible this is (at least for the common cold). As a concept, it could work, but would be extremely difficult to get right.