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Researchers find 'broad spectrum' antiviral that fights multitude of viruses
Date:2/1/2010

Viruses are insidious creatures. They differ from each other in many ways, and they can mutate at times seemingly at will, as with HIV to resist a host of weapons fired at them. Complicating matters further is that new viruses are constantly emerging.

One potential weapon is a small-molecule "broad spectrum" antiviral that will fight a host of viruses by attacking them through some feature common to an entire class of viruses. For example, there are two categories of viruses: lipid-enveloped and non-enveloped. Enveloped viruses are surrounded by a membrane that in effect serves as a mechanism through which a virus inserts its genome into a host cell, infecting it. Is there something out there that might disrupt that action in as many viruses as possible and not produce unwanted side effects?

A group of researchers led by a team from UCLA and including others from the University of Texas at Galveston, Harvard University, Cornell University and the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases may have found just such a compound.

In a proof-of-principle study published online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers have identified an antiviral small molecule that is effective against numerous viruses, including HIV-1, influenza A, filoviruses, poxviruses, arenaviruses, bunyaviruses, paramyxoviruses and flaviviruses. These viruses cause some of the world's deadliest diseases, such as AIDS, Nipah virus encephalitis, Ebola, hemorrhagic fever and Rift Valley fever.

Even better, the compound a rhodanine derivative that the researchers have dubbed LJ001 could be effective against new, yet-to-be discovered enveloped viruses.

"Since the government has changed its priorities to support development of broad spectrum therapeutics, more and more groups have been screening compound libraries for antivirals that are active against multiple viruses in a specific class,
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Contact: Enrique Rivero
erivero@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2273
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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