Scientists have discovered a new way to prevent viruses growing
Scientists at the University of Edinburgh have discovered innovative ways to tackle viruses, through making infection sites less hospitable, and by controlling protein networks to prevent viruses growing.
Instead of attacking viruses themselves, the researchers found that by altering the conditions which viruses need to survive and multiply, they could increase the effectiveness of antiviral drugs. Viruses then become less able to mutate and to build up resistance to drugs.
The study analysed molecules known as microRNAs, which regulate how much protein is made in host cells (allowing viruses to multiply and survive). By manipulating the microRNA level, they found they could control the network of proteins and prevent viruses from growing.
Whereas most current antiviral therapies are only effective against one virus, this method was successful against multiple viruses, potentially leading to treatment for patients with a range of different infections.
The research has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and was funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.
Added the 29 July 2010 in category Innovation News