EVOLUTIONARY ANTIVIRAL DRUGS
Share this on

EVOLUTIONARY ANTIVIRAL DRUGS

Researchers may have found a way to neutralise the deadly pox family of viruses through the structural analysis of a protein that provides, for the first time, a clear target for antiviral drugs able to block virus assembly.They have also found that this protein, D13, represents an evolutionary link with other viruses infecting all kingdoms of life and opens the possibility of a whole new class of drugs to treat viral infections.In 2011, Dr Fasséli Coulibaly from Monash University’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Associate Professor Alok Mitra from the University of Auckland discovered that D13 is related to structural proteins found in many large DNA viruses. The significance was immediate – a target for the development of inhibitor drugs able to block the formation of all poxviruses and the infections they cause.“Because D13 is common to all poxviruses, the potential exists to develop antiviral drugs that are effective against a whole family of viruses, similar to the effect of antibiotics on bacteria,” Dr Coulibaly says.The best known of the poxviruses is smallpox, which killed millions of people a year before it was eradicated through a global vaccination program in the late 1970s. Only two official, highly secure stocks remain (in the US and Russia), leaving humanity now with only a small risk of deliberate release through an act of war or bioterrorism.It is other members of the poxvirus family that are causing concern.

This article:  

EVOLUTIONARY ANTIVIRAL DRUGS