Saturday, January 15, 2011

New Research Aims to Shut Down Viral Assembly Line

Researchers at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University are currently taking a close look at coronaviruses in hopes of learning more about viral assembly.  By understanding the process of viral particle assembly, they believe that it is possible to create a new type of antiviral drug that would stop coronaviruses from successfully multiplying (and possibly more virus families as well).

The study is currently focusing on a specific viral protein (labelled M) that makes up part of the envelope that forms a protective shield for the viral RNA.  The researches have tried several genetic manipulations in order to pinpoint which encoding areas are essential for the protein to properly form.  Some of these regions have similar sequences to the viral genomes of other viruses, making them highly conserved.  If the research allows them to interrupt viral reproduction, it could potentially have a big effect on antiviral medication.


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