Navigation Links
Drug blocks two of world's deadliest emerging viruses

NEW YORK (March 5, 2009) -- Two highly lethal viruses that have emerged in recent outbreaks are susceptible to chloroquine, an established drug used to prevent and treat malaria, according to a new basic science study by researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College in the Journal of Virology. Due to the study's significance, a manuscript was published yesterday online, in advance of the print issue, and will be highlighted as an editor's "spotlight" in the first May issue.

The two henipaviruses that are the subject of the study -- Hendra Virus (HeV) and Nipah Virus (NiV) -- emerged during the 1990s in Australia and Southeast Asia. Harbored by fruit bats, they cause potentially fatal encephalitis and respiratory disease in humans, with a devastating 75 percent fatality rate. More recently, NiV outbreaks in Bangladesh involving human-to-human transmission have focused attention on NiV as a global health concern.

The researchers, based in Weill Cornell's pediatrics department, were surprised by their discovery that chloroquine, a safe, low-cost agent that has been used to combat malaria for more than 50 years, is a highly active inhibitor of infection by Hendra and Nipah.

"The fact that chloroquine is safe and widely used in humans means that it may bypass the usual barriers associated with drug development and move quickly into clinical trials," says Dr. Anne Moscona, professor of pediatrics and microbiology & immunology at Weill Cornell Medical College and senior author of the study. She is also vice chair for research of pediatrics at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

"Chloroquine stands a good chance of making it through the development process in time to prevent further outbreaks of these deadly infections," adds Dr. Moscona.

Like the avian flu, SARS, and Ebola viruses, Hendra and Nipah are zoonotic pathogens. That means they originate in certain animals but can jump between animal species and between animals and humans. There are currently no vaccines or treatments against the two henipaviruses, which are listed by the U.S. government as possible bioterror agents.

Along with Dr. Moscona and her team, the study's lead author and fellow faculty member Dr. Matteo Porotto, in collaboration with Dr. Fraser Glickman at Rockefeller University's High Throughput Screening Resource Center, developed a screening test that substituted a non-lethal cow virus for the real thing. They engineered a viral hybrid, called a pseudotype, featuring proteins from the Hendra virus on its surface but lacking Hendra's genome. The pseudotype behaves in every way like its deadly counterpart, but ultimately, it only succeeds in replicating its non-lethal self.

The researchers designed their screening technique specially to reflect molecular reactions at several stages of the pathogen's lifecycle. Instead of focusing exclusively on how the virus enters the cell, like other pseudotyped screening assays, explains Dr. Porotto, the researchers were able to consider how Hendra matures, buds, and exits the cell, and to screen for compounds that interfere with its development at various stages.

Chloroquine does not prevent Hendra or Nipah virus from entering the cell. Instead, the chloroquine molecule appears to block the action of a key enzyme, called cathepsin L, which is essential to the virus's growth and maturation. Without this enzyme, newly formed Hendra or Nipah viruses cannot process the protein that permits the viruses to fuse with the host cell. Newly formed viruses then cannot spread the infection; in other words, they can invade, but cannot cause disease.

Several other zoonotic viruses depend on cathepsin L -- most notably, Ebola. "Our findings, and our methods, could easily be applied to the study of Ebola and other emerging diseases," Dr. Porotto says.

The researchers are confident that the use of this new screening strategy will build up the number of viral targets available for study and expand the antiviral research field at a time when new antivirals are desperately needed for emerging pathogens. The group anticipates collaborating on field studies in the near future, to assess the potential for efficacy of chloroquine and related compounds in Nipah-infected humans.


Contact: Andrew Klein
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College

Related medicine news :

1. Drug blocks 2 of worlds deadliest emerging viruses
2. NLRB Blocks New Organizations Attempts to Divide UHW; SEIU UHW Committed to Securing Good Contracts With Members
3. Beta Blocker Blocks Feelings of Bad Memories
4. USC study finds that green tea blocks benefits of cancer drug
5. Jefferson researchers show antibody to breast cancer-secreted protein blocks metastasis
6. Experimental agent blocks prostate cancer in animal study
7. C5 Medical Werks Applies for Clearance, Certification and Licensing for the Global Marketing of ZirDent(TM) Ceramic CAD/CAM Dental Blocks
8. Monkey Gene That Blocks AIDS Viruses Evolved More Than Once
9. Iowa State chemists track how drug changes, blocks flu virus
10. Super-Thin Drug-Free Coating Hides Stent as It Unblocks Heart Arteries
11. Grape powder blocks genes linked to colon cancer
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/29/2015)... ... November 29, 2015 , ... Effective immediately, every single IguanaMed scrub style will ... Friday Target is offering a “Buy One Scrub Set, Get the 2nd Scrub Set ... purchase IguanaMed at a discounted price. , IguanaMed’s mission is to outfit ...
(Date:11/28/2015)... ... ... Beginning November 30th at 6:00 a.m. EST until 11:59 p.m. EST, customers ... up to 20% off orders $80 or more to free gifts with purchases, there will ... As a competitive e-commerce website for skin care and cosmetic needs, customers will save on ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... According to an article ... way that they are handling security in light of the recent terrorist attacks in ... an attempt to stop an attack from reaching U.S. soil. Especially around special events ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... Lizzie’s Lice Pickers just ... is offering customers 10% off of their purchase of lice treatment product. In addition, ... price. According to a company spokesperson. “Finding lice is a sure way to ruin ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... Wilmington, DE (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 ... ... a member of the well-respected Microsoft Dynamics SL User Group (MSDSLUG). Recognized as ... is an independent group of Microsoft Dynamics SL software users, partners, industry experts ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... 2015 --> ... blends immunotherapy with Bremachlorin-photodynamic therapy for advanced cancer. ... immunotherapy with Bremachlorin-photodynamic therapy for advanced cancer.   ... immunotherapy with Bremachlorin-photodynamic therapy for advanced cancer.   ... that immunotherapy can be efficiently combined with photodynamic therapy ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... November 26, 2015 --> ... use SyMRI to find optimal contrast weighting of MRI ... and has signed a research agreement with SyntheticMR in order ... Using SyMRI, it is possible to generate multiple contrast images ... the patient has left, thus making it possible to both ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 3D ... by 2022, according to a new report by Grand View ... Kidney Disease (CKD) which demands kidney transplantation is expected to ... cost effective substitute for organ transplantation. --> 3D ... by 2022, according to a new report by Grand View ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: