Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


EU research fights killer viruses’ stubborn resistance to drugs


Viruses’ growing resistance to drugs means diseases such as hepatitis B and C are increasingly difficult to treat. New pandemics may arise with unforeseeable consequences. The EU is therefore contributing € 9 million to the “Vigilance against Viral Resistance” (VIRGIL) project, to be launched today in Lyon (France). It will start by addressing drug resistance in viral hepatitis and influenza, but will broaden its scope to other viruses. The network will be based on research and technological platforms to monitor existing, and anticipate future, drug resistance. One platform will monitor, test and improve the management of antiviral drug resistance in patients while another will show how resistance occurs and help understand patient-related (immune/genetic) factors causing viral resistance. Other platforms for drugs and pharmacology and for innovation and technology will allow anticipation of ways to rapidly overcome drug resistance. Finally, a societal impact platform will assess the network’s benefit for medicine and patients’ quality of life. VIRGIL, coordinated by Lyon’s INSERM research centre, will gather 55 key European field experts from 12 countries, including 7 partners from industry.

“The heavy use of antibiotics, particularly in hospitals, hastens mutations in bacteria which bring about drug resistance. The same happens in viruses when antiviral drugs are used extensively,” European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin said. “VIRGIL complements a €30 million EU research investment into antimicrobial drug resistance over the past two years to address this growing problem. Through collaboration between European academic researchers, the pharmaceutical industry, clinicians and public health authorities the network will help overcome problems associated with viral drug resistance to help save lives.”

Killer diseases: on the rampage?

Viral hepatitis causes chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis and liver cancer. Although a safe and efficient vaccine does exist for hepatitis B, over 350 million people around the world are now chronically infected with this virus. For hepatitis C, no vaccine exists and over 1% of Europeans are carriers. Intensive clinical use of the few available drugs has led to rapidly emerging drug resistance for some viruses so that these drugs are no longer efficient.

Yearly epidemics of new flu strains infect 5-15% of the world population with up to 500.000 deaths. Genetic changes in the influenza virus may lead to severe epidemics of global dimension (pandemics), such as the Spanish flu of 1918 that killed over 40 million people. Experts now fear another pandemic may arise shortly with unforeseeable consequences. Access to efficient drugs will be essential in such a catastrophic scenario. Again, the virus is likely to develop drug resistance.

EU research saves lives and money

The VIRGIL network will be able to rapidly and reliably determine resistance to new drugs and the drug susceptibility of emerging viral strains based on new treatments. The network aims to link up with the antiviral drug producing pharmaceutical industry in a cost-effective partnership that will help to ensure longer access to treatment and cure for the patients. This will help contain the socio-economic burden of viral resistance, now representing a major health problem with higher health care and drug development costs.

Fabio Fabbi | EU Commission
Further information:

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Forest Management Yields Higher Productivity through Biodiversity
14.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Farming with forests
23.09.2016 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

New method increases energy density in lithium batteries

24.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

International team discovers novel Alzheimer's disease risk gene among Icelanders

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

New bacteria groups, and stunning diversity, discovered underground

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>