May offer new approach to smallpox treatment
In a finding that represents an entirely new approach to treating viral diseases such as smallpox, scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and collaborating institutions have shown that infections can be stymied by interfering with signals used by viruses to reproduce in human cells.
The results, reported in the February issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, point to a possible strategy for broadly treating acute viral infections that affect millions of people worldwide. If the technique leads to a drug capable of treating people infected with the smallpox virus, it could eliminate the virus potential as a bioterror agent. "Certain current anti-viral medications have a number of shortcomings that make them less than ideal for treating and/or preventing illnesses," says the studys senior author, Ellis Reinherz, MD, of Dana-Farber. "The existing vaccine against smallpox, for example, poses potential health risks that make it a questionable candidate for protecting the public against an outbreak of the disease. The approach weve taken is based on a new understanding of the basic mechanisms of viral reproduction and movement –– the actual steps that take place once a virus has invaded the body."
Bill Schaller | EurekAlert!
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