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UIC developing drug for SARS

in the scientific literature. Shipped to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing on a live virus, the prototype proved to be 1,000 times more effective than the original compound in inhibiting 3CLpro.

However, Johnson, said, the prototype drug blocked several, but not all, of the enzyme's pockets. "The goal is to create compounds that will block all possible binding sites in the proteases to put them out of business."

"A compound that blocks all these sites, rather than just a few, and that conforms tightly to the pockets, is ultimately a better drug for human consumption because it can be prescribed in smaller doses."

Johnson emphasized that all the work being done at UIC involves isolated proteases, not live viruses. "The proteases are no more dangerous than the enzymes in your laundry detergent," he said.

Testing of the protease inhibitors on live viruses will be done at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SARS was first reported in Guangdong Province, China in November 2002 and spread rapidly to other Asian countries, North America and Europe. By July of the following year, more than 8,000 cases were reported in 26 countries on five continents, resulting in 774 deaths and enormous economic damage.


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Source:University of Illinois at Chicago


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