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.