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A tiny crater on viruses behind the common cold may be their Achilles' heel


Added 06-11-19 02:16:01pm EST - “Researchers have discovered a potential new drug target in a family of viruses responsible for the common cold and more serious infections.” - Sciencenews.org

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Sciencenews.org: “A tiny crater on viruses behind the common cold may be their Achilles’ heel”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

In the June 8 SN: Measles roars back, collapsars spin gold, a new kind of dementia, the Southern Ocean's secrets, Denisovans lived on top of the world, and more.

IN THE POCKET  A chemical compound (illustrated at center) binds to a never-before-seen pocket on the protein shell (blue, white and magenta) of an enterovirus, preventing replication.

A newly discovered indentation on the surface of viruses that cause many illnesses, including the common cold, could be their Achilles’ heel — and a possible target for effective drugs.

When scientists tested antiviral compounds on cells grown in the lab, the team found one that blocked the replication of an enterovirus. Cryo-electron microscopy revealed that the compound binds to and appears to jam a previously unknown pocket on the virus’s protein shell, researchers report online June 11 in PLOS Biology.

Additional testing suggests that the pocket is widespread among picornaviruses, the viral family that includes enteroviruses — which cause hand, foot and mouth disease as well as more dangerous infections — and rhinoviruses, responsible for the common cold. There are no antiviral medications available to treat these pathogens.

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