Compound saves ferrets from related virus by blocking key enzyme
Mike Blyth/Wikimedia Commons
There’s no treatment for measles, but an experimental compound might do the trick by bogging down a key viral enzyme, a study of ferrets finds. When given to animals infected by a virus similar to the one that causes measles, the compound prevented illness.
“This is still a ways away from human testing,” says Alan Hinman, a public health physician at the Task Force for Global Health, a nonprofit organization in Decatur, Ga. “But it’s exciting to see this. I think it has potential to be really useful.”
Measles is caused by a pathogen in the genus Morbillivirus. The virus relies on an enzyme called RNA polymerase to infect and spread in a host. Because mammals don’t have the same enzyme, researchers are developing experimental compounds that target that RNA polymerase. Scientists report in the April 16 Science Translational Medicine that one such