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Novel strategy stymies SARS et al.
Date:10/28/2011

Broad-spectrum antibiotics, which are active against a whole range of bacterial pathogens, have been on the market for a long time. Comparably versatile drugs to treat viral diseases, on the other hand, have remained elusive. Using a new approach, research teams led by Dr. Albrecht von Brunn of LMU Munich and Professor Christian Drosten from the University of Bonn have identified a compound that inhibits the replication of several different viruses, including the highly aggressive SARS virus that is responsible for severe acute respiratory syndrome.

The new method exploits the fact that interactions between certain host proteins and specific viral proteins are essential for viral replication. One of these host proteins is part of a signaling relay in the cell. The broad-spectrum antiviral compound used by the researchers blocks this signal pathway without having a deleterious effect on the host. "We have shown in this study that a broadly based search for new cellular targets can uncover new functional principles that have a demonstrable impact on virus replication," says von Brunn. "We have confirmed that the approach works in cell culture. We now hope that these laboratory results can be translated into clinically effective therapies. At the very least, our high-throughput procedure can be utilized to systematically screen various protein-virus interactions as potential targets for inhibitory compounds." The new study was carried out under the auspices of the SARS Research Network, which is supported by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF). (PloS Pathogens, 27. October 2011)

Broad-spectrum antibiotics that inhibit the growth of various species of bacterial pathogens are well known. Virologists, unfortunately, have no comparably versatile weapons in their armory. Individual drugs that are active against different types of viral pathogens are simply not available. "All of the antiviral agents we have are directed specific
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Contact: Dr. Kathrin Bilgeri
kathrin.bilgeri@lmu.de
49-218-06938
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitt Mnchen
Source:Eurekalert

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