$2M NIH Grant Will Help Develop a New Defense Against Viral ‘Hijackers’ (2022)

halcyon

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$2M NIH Grant Will Help Develop a New Defense Against Viral ‘Hijackers’

A University of Maryland researcher has received $2 million from the National Institutes of Health to study a new method to combat a large, diverse group of viruses that can cause everything from stomach flu and rashes to polio and hand foot and mouth disease.

There are no effective medical treatments for enteroviruses, in large part because they are very good at developing resistance to therapeutics, but Associate Professor George Belov in the Department of Veterinary Medicine is working to counter this ability.

Belov’s research will investigate interruption of a critical step that occurs in all enterovirus infections: the development of something called replication organelles. Enteroviruses hijack the system a cell uses to build its internal parts, commanding that system to build membranes to support the virus’s own replication machinery. The membrane creates a new organelle inside an infected cell that hides the virus’s replication machinery from the cell’s immune defenses.
 
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halcyon

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This researcher appears to have a specific interest in the way that enteroviruses hijack and utilize phospholipids in the viral replication process. This isn't the only lipid pathway that enteroviruses interfere with; they are also known to hijack and alter cell handling of LDL cholesterol as well (Strating et al., 2013). These things catch my eye as abnormalities in phospholipids and cholesterol do seem to be involved in ME, though I'm not sure how likely it is that we can blame enteroviruses for this directly.
 

Pyrrhus

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From his university page:

DR. GEORGIY BELOV
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR

[...]
RESEARCH FOCUS
  • Understanding molecular mechanisms of membrane remodeling in cells infected with positive strand RNA viruses
  • Characterization of the role of cellular Arf GEF proteins in replication of picornaviruses
  • Development of novel anti-viral therapeutics targeting cellular factors hijacked for viral replication
It sounds like he is another researcher trying to target host factors instead of trying to target the virus directly.