Antiviral Therapy Breakthrough

April 5th, 2010 in Current Events by Frank Chadwick

On February 16 of this year, an article appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences which may just change our world for the better.

In 1999 Nipah, a particularly virulent and deadly virus, was first identified in Malaysia. The National Institutes of Health issued a series of biodefense grants to screen a large library of potential anti-viral compounds. One of these grants went to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where a team led by Dr. Benhur Lee set to work.

His team eventually found a compound, LJ001, which prevented the envelope of the virus from attaching to the target cell and which had no apparent toxic effect on the target cell. When they tested the compound against other viruses with similar envelopes, it had the same effect.

What viruses?

Ebola. HIV. Influenza.

We’re still years from actual drugs on the shelf, and things still might not pan out. But it may also be the biggest medical discovery of this generation.

Here’s a link to the Scientific American article.

About the Author: The major landmarks in Frank's historical interests range from ancient Persia through the Crimean War, World War II, and the modern U.S. Armed Forces, with a lot of stops in between. Frank is fascinated by the unusual, the overlooked, and the surprising. He is the New York Times number one best-selling author of the Desert Shield Fact Book (1991) and he is currently writing an historical novel on Alexander's conquest of Persia – from the Persian point of view.

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