Nov. 11, 2007 Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine have identified a new class of compounds that may inhibit West Nile virus in humans.
West Nile virus (WNV), a member of the flavivirus family which also includes dengue virus and yellow fever virus, can cause disease in humans, horses, and other vertebrate species when transmitted by infected mosquitoes.
WNV has been confirmed in all 48 continental United States as well as Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and South America and the fatality-to-case ratio calculated from recent outbreaks is 4 to 14%. There were 24,000 human cases diagnosed between 1999 and 2006 and currently there is no vaccine or therapeutic treatment approved for use in humans.
In the study researchers screened 80,000 small molecule compounds from a commercial library for their ability to inhibit WNV replication. They identified 10 compounds with strong inhibitory responses toward diverse WNV isolates. Many of these compounds had not been previously marked as inhibitory prospects against WNV or other related or unrelated viruses. In addition several of the compounds also showed inhibition capabilities against dengue and yellow fever viruses.
"Overall, these compounds comprise a novel class of promising inhibitors for therapy against WNV and other flavivirus infections in humans" say the researchers.
Journal reference: A.O. Noueiry, P.D. Olivo, U. Slomczynska, Y. Zhou, B. Buscher, B. Geiss, M. Engle, R.M. Roth, K.M. Chung, M. Samuel, M.S. Diamond. 2007. Identification of novel small-molecule inhibitors of West Nile virus infection. Journal of Virology, 81. 21: 11992-12004.
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