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Researchers developing antiviral drug to combat contagious norovirus
Date:3/25/2013

ished professor of chemistry, and Yunjeong Kim, research assistant professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology. Other collaborators include William Groutas, a distinguished professor of chemistry at Wichita State University; and Linda Saif, a distinguished professor in the department of veterinary preventive medicine's food animal health research program at Ohio State University.

Each scientist on the team is contributing expertise to the norovirus drug development project. Hua and Groutas are medicinal chemists and are synthesizing compounds specifically designed to bind a virus protein that is essential for virus survival. Chang and Kim are virologists and are testing those compounds in enzyme assays and cell-based assays to determine their effects on the virus. Saif is a virologist and also tests compounds.

"Unlike most bacteria, viruses can only grow in cells," Chang said. "One of the most important ways to tell if a compound is effective against a virus is to test that compound in cell culture to see if it can inhibit the growth of the virus. However, human norovirus does not grow in cells, which has been a great impediment to the development of vaccines and antiviral drugs. That is why we established cell-based assays ourselves. That's our novelty. That's why we initiated this program from Kansas State University and then we looked for collaborators."

In the past few years, the researchers have studied more than 600 compounds and found several compounds with the best potential for drug development. The researchers also are focusing on protease inhibitors, which could prevent viruses from replicating in cells. Other protease inhibitors exist in the market for treating HIV or hepatitis C virus infections.

"Viral proteases are a very good target for antiviral drug development because a virus cannot replicate without its protease," Chang said. "That's why our research has focused on norovirus proteases and protease inhibit
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Contact: Kyeong-Ok Chang
kchang@k-state.edu
785-532-3849
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert

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