Discovery could counteract use of deadly virus for bioterrorism
UCLA scientists have discovered how the deadly Nipah virus infiltrates human cells to cause encephalitis. Designated as a potential bioterrorism agent by the National Biodefense Research Agenda, the virus exploits a protein essential to embryonic development to enter cells and launch its attack. The online edition of Nature reports the findings July 6.
"In its natural state, the Nipah virus can be used as a potential bioterrorism agent capable of devastating an entire countrys public health and economy," said Dr. Benhur Lee, principal investigator and UCLA assistant professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics. "Now that we understand how the virus operates, we can develop vaccines and drugs to block Nipah from entering the cells. This will help prevent infection and halt outbreaks before they reach epidemic proportions."
Elaine Schmidt | EurekAlert!
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