Chemical disrupts virus assembly centers
Volker Thiel, Edward Trybala and colleagues
An experimental drug that shuts down construction of virus-making factories could become a new weapon against MERS and similar respiratory diseases. The chemical, called K22, halts growth of a panel of different coronaviruses, including the strains that cause MERS and SARS, researchers report May 29 in PLOS Pathogens.
K22 is the latest in a slew of drug candidates to counter coronaviruses, for which no proven drug treatments currently exist. But K22 stands out from the crowd, says Stanley Perlman, a virologist and pediatric infectious disease physicianat the University of Iowa in Iowa City.
K22 hits a part of the viral life cycle that no drug candidate has tackled before. “The ideal drug may be something like this,” Perlman says.
Still, moving the chemical from the lab to the clinic could take years of testing and development, says study coauthor Volker Thiel, a virologist at