A tiny hand crafted out of DNA has jointed fingers that can be used to grab small objects like gold nanoparticles or viruses to particles of gold between 50 and 100 nanometres across and the fingers could grasp them. In another test, they took the fingers and added extra bits of DNA that bind to the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The nanohands could then “grab” viruses and those that had been grabbed were unable to infect cells growing in a culture.
Wang and his colleagues also engineered nanohands to fluoresce when they bound to a specific virus, which could help detect such infectious agents. They are now exploring whether the devices could be used to get drugs into cells, says Wang.