Monday, June 2, 2014

Experimental drug could be useful MERS treatment

MERS virus 3-D image
by Scinceside
MERS (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome) has been featured in the news of late due to the spread of the disease globally.

 The virus that causes MERS belongs to a group called coronaviruses. Currently, no treatment for coronaviruses exists. However, a chemical called K22 was recently shown to inhibit the growth of various strains of coronavirus, including those that cause MERS.



The results are reported in the PLOS pathogens article entitled:'Targeting Membrane-Bound Viral RNA Synthesis Reveals Potent Inhibition of Diverse Coronaviruses Including the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Virus.' The work is a collaborative effort of scientist at a number of European Universities and describes how K22 inhibits viral RNA synthesis and the formation of double membrane vesicles. Therefore, K22 halts viral replication at a very early stage. The authors propose that the recruitment of cellular membranes for viral replication represents a druggable target for antiviral treatment and expect to be able to exploit this to develop new drugs to combat viral infections!

 The original article can be found at:

http://www.plospathogens.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.ppat.1004166