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Mark Shwartz, News Service (650) 723-9296; e-mail:

Discovery of armored viruses may inspire new designs for nanotechnology

Anyone suffering from a cold knows how tough and persistent viruses can be.

Now scientists have discovered that one type of virus actually comes equipped with an armored coat made of interlocking rings of protein.

The structure of this virus -- remarkably similar to chain mail suits worn by medieval knights -- had been predicted but never directly observed in a protein until now. Researchers say the discovery could have applications for the booming field of nanotechnology.

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