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July 21, 2010

Researchers find 'broad spectrum' antiviral that fights multitude of viruses

UCLA Newsroom, February 2010: "A group of researchers led by a team from UCLA and including others from the University of Texas at Galveston, Harvard University, Cornell University and the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases may have found just such a compound.

"In a proof-of-principle study published online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers have identified an antiviral small molecule that is effective against numerous viruses, including HIV-1, influenza A, filoviruses, poxviruses, arenaviruses, bunyaviruses, paramyxoviruses and flaviviruses. These viruses cause some of the world's deadliest diseases, such as AIDS, Nipah virus encephalitis, Ebola, hemorrhagic fever and Rift Valley fever.

"Even better, the compound — a rhodanine derivative that the researchers have dubbed LJ001 — could be effective against new, yet-to-be discovered enveloped viruses.

"'Since the government has changed its priorities to support development of broad spectrum therapeutics, more and more groups have been screening compound libraries for antivirals that are active against multiple viruses in a specific class,' said Dr. Benhur Lee, associate professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the primary investigator of the four-year study."

Notes: Published in February; we just saw it today.

The abstract is free, but the full text is behind a paywall. A PDF of supplemental technical information is also free. Links are available through the press release.