Nav: Home

Scientific methods identify potential antivirals against chikungunya

October 10, 2016

Washington, DC - October 10, 2016 - Chikungunya virus has caused two recent massive outbreaks sickening millions of people. Now a team of researchers has shown that several existing compounds have potent activity against the critical CHIKV protease enzyme. The research is published October 10 in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, published by the American Society for Microbiology.

Chikungunya is a mosquito-born, largely tropical disease which can cause fever, severe joint pain, headaches, nausea, and fatigue. "Here we exploited an approach that should, at least in theory, be a fast track for the development of compounds useful both for studies of the virus and as leads for development of antivirals," said corresponding author Andres Merits, PhD, Professor of Applied Virology, University of Tartu, Estonia.

"The 3D-structures of conserved virus proteins are currently second--after the genome sequence--to be resolved for new, medically important viruses," said Merits. Theoretical chemists from among this team used that information to predict in silico what already existing chemicals might bind and inhibit the enzyme.

Then virologists on the team tested the compounds' abilities to inhibit the CHIKV protease' activity in biochemical systems, and then in cultures of infected cells. Several of the compounds proved to be potent inhibitors of both RNA synthesis and virus replication. Interestingly, it appeared that some compounds used more than one mechanism to inhibit CHIKV replication. "While none of these compounds is ready to be used as an antiviral drug, they represent promising leads and excellent tools for follow-up studies," said Merits.

The researchers were also able to use their initial findings on which compounds worked to refine the predictive model, said Merits. After that, the success rate rose to fifty percent of the compounds selected by the model that were active against the virus.

"With new viruses constantly emerging, fast and reliable approaches are needed to enable identification of compounds capable of inhibiting their replication," said Merits, alluding to Zika, MERS, and other viruses that were virtually unknown as late as a decade ago. The scientifically selected compounds are good leads for drug development, and reduce the possibility of subsequent failure. "They are equally important as tools to study and understand the details of virus infection."
-end-
The American Society for Microbiology is the largest single life science society, composed of over 48,000 scientists and health professionals. ASM's mission is to promote and advance the microbial sciences.

ASM advances the microbial sciences through conferences, publications, certifications and educational opportunities. It enhances laboratory capacity around the globe through training and resources. It provides a network for scientists in academia, industry and clinical settings. Additionally, ASM promotes a deeper understanding of the microbial sciences to diverse audiences.

American Society for Microbiology

Related Chemotherapy Articles:

Nanotechnology improves chemotherapy delivery
Michigan State University scientists have invented a new way to monitor chemotherapy concentrations, which is more effective in keeping patients' treatments within the crucial therapeutic window.
Novel anti-cancer nanomedicine for efficient chemotherapy
Researchers have developed a new anti-cancer nanomedicine for targeted cancer chemotherapy.
Ending needless chemotherapy for breast cancer
A diagnostic test developed at The University of Queensland might soon determine if a breast cancer patient requires chemotherapy or would receive no benefit from this gruelling treatment.
A homing beacon for chemotherapy drugs
Killing tumor cells while sparing their normal counterparts is a central challenge of cancer chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy or not?
Case Western Reserve University researchers and partners, including a collaborator at Cleveland Clinic, are pushing the boundaries of how 'smart' diagnostic-imaging machines identify cancers -- and uncovering clues outside the tumor to tell whether a patient will respond well to chemotherapy.
More Chemotherapy News and Chemotherapy Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...