Could ultrasound be used to treat coronavirus? - study

“We’ve proven that under ultrasound excitation, the coronavirus shell and spikes will vibrate, doing visible damage to the outer shell and possibly invisible damage to the RNA inside,” MIT prof. says

Israeli startup PulseNmore's at-home ultrasound machine (photo credit: PUBLIC DOMAIN)
Israeli startup PulseNmore's at-home ultrasound machine
(photo credit: PUBLIC DOMAIN)
Coronaviruses might be vulnerable to ultrasound vibrations, according to new studies conducted by MIT's Department of Medical Engineering, according to a report by MIT News
If these tests are able to be experimentally proven to damage coronaviruses – provided the damage is shown to have a therapeutic effect – ultrasound might be utilized to treat and possibly prevent coronavirus infection, the MIT research team said.
The researchers also envisioned the possibility of "miniature ultrasound transducers," built within phones and small enough to fit in people's pockets, which could also be capable of shielding people from the virus.
The MIT research team was able to conduct their research through computer simulations, which showed ultrasound waves at frequencies that can cause the spikes and shells of the virus to collapse.
The researchers stress that the results are only preliminary and based on limited data regarding the actual physical properties of the virus.
However, they said that their work may lead to a possible ultrasound-based treatment to be developed for COVID-19. 
“We’ve proven that under ultrasound excitation, the coronavirus shell and spikes will vibrate, and the amplitude of that vibration will be very large, producing strains that could break certain parts of the virus, doing visible damage to the outer shell and possibly invisible damage to the RNA inside,” says Tomasz Wierzbicki, professor of applied mechanics at MIT.
The only question remaining is how effective can ultrasound be when damaging the virus within an infected person.
In the past, scientists have mapped out the general structure of the coronavirus using previous studies, which are based on a whole category of viruses that includes influenza and HIV.
“We looked at the general coronavirus family, and now are looking specifically at the morphology and geometry of COVID-19. The potential is something that could be great in the current critical situation,” Wierzbicki said, stressing that there is still more research to do in order to scientifically prove that ultrasound can be a prevention strategy and a proper treatment against the novel coronavirus.
If the hypotheses are proven to be successful, it could be very beneficial for the health of pregnant women and their future children. Last August, an Israeli startup launched its first-ever at-home ultrasound for future moms, without having the need to visit a medical clinic.  
Last month, it was reported that in only between 1% and 3% of cases has a pregnant mom directly passed the virus on to her baby.
Rossella Tercatin and Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman contributed to this report.