New Vulnerability Found In A Large Group Of Pathogenic Viruses


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New vulnerability found in major human viruses
Structural feature may lead to antivirals for the common cold, polio, and other pathogens
June 11, 2019
Discovery of a new feature of a large class of pathogenic viruses may allow development of new antiviral medications for the common cold, polio, and other illnesses, according to a new study....

Picornaviruses include rhinoviruses and enteroviruses. Rhinoviruses cause millions of cases of upper respiratory infections ("colds") yearly and contribute to asthma, and enteroviruses are responsible for millions of infections including cases such as meningitis, encephalitis and polio. There are currently no antivirals that can be used for the treatment or prevention of any of the rhino- or enteroviruses....

Although picornaviruses have been studied for decades, the authors discovered a previously unknown pocket, or indentation, on the surface of the virus, in which the compound had lodged, thereby stabilizing it against the kind of shape change that would allow interaction with host cells.....

A major challenge in developing antiviral medications is that viruses mutate quickly, changing in ways that make a once-useful drug ineffective. While it is possible that the newly-discovered pocket may also mutate to make picornaviruses resistant to therapies developed against them, the authors suggest the pocket may be crucial enough for viral replication that viruses containing mutant versions may be less viable, making the drug relatively "resistance-proof."...Further work to develop these compounds into effective drugs is ongoing.”

A novel druggable interprotomer pocket in the capsid of rhino- and enteroviruses. PLOS Biology, 2019; 17 (6): e3000281 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000281


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Note that the picornavirus family includes the enterovirus genus, and the enterovirus genus includes coxsackievirus B and echovirus — two viruses strongly linked to ME/CFS.