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

" said Dr. Benhur Lee, associate professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the primary investigator of the four-year study.

U.S. Food and Drug Administrationapproved broad spectrum antivirals do exist but are rare, for various reasons. Ribavirin, for instance, affects both the virus proteins and the host cell and is effective on only a limited number of viruses, such as respiratory syncytial virus and Lassa fever virus. And αinterferon, which is used against the hepatitis C virus, produces unwanted side effects and is too expensive for widespread use.

But the putative mechanism for LJ001 is surprising, according to Lee, who is also a member of the UCLA AIDS Institute.

"We provide evidence that the small molecule binds to both cellular and viral membranes, but its preferential ability to inactivate viral membranes comes from its ability to exploit the biogenic reparative ability of metabolically active cells versus static viral membranes," he said. "That is, at antiviral concentrations, any damage it does to the cell's membrane can be repaired, while damage done to static viral membranes, which have no inherent regenerative capacity, is permanent and irreversible."

Lee and his collaborators developed their concept of LJ001 as interfering only with enveloped viruses after testing 23 pathogens in cell culture. Studies of nine of those agents including Ebola virus, Nipah virus and Rift Valley fever virus required high- or maximum-containment facilities and were carried out in the biosafety level 3 and 4 laboratories of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) and USAMRIID.

"Once we started testing more and more, we figured out that it was only targeting the enveloped viruses," said Alexander N. Freiberg, director of UTMB's Robert E. Shope, M.D., Laboratory.

The Shope BSL4 lab was also used for mouse experiment
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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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