|MERS virus 3-D image|
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: