When a virus uncoats its genome after it infects a cell, the cell theoretically has a golden opportunity to attack the unprotected genome before it starts the process of making viral-specific products that cause problems in the cell.
Researchers at Colorado State University have recently discovered a mechanism by which several viruses specifically suppress aspects of the cell in order to stabilize their nucleic acids to promote an efficient infection. This finding has revealed a prospective 'Achilles' heel' for viruses that has significant therapeutic potential.
In a partnership with Colorado State and the Rocky Mountain Regional Center of Excellence in Biodefense and Emerging Diseases, Bioo Scientific recently received a $1.25 million, 5 year grant award to develop novel methodologies and compounds that will specifically overcome this viral suppression mechanism and allow cells to effectively attack viral nucleic acids.
“We are pleased to be able to contribute our expertise in drug discovery and development to this project” said Dr. Lance Ford, Bioo’s VP for Research and Development.
“We are also very much looking forward to working with the cadre of biodefense-oriented microbiologists in the Rocky Mountain region. One aspect of the project that we find particularly exciting is that the treatments we will be developing could then be used to treat infections with multiple viruses of biodefense significance. Theoretically, the therapeutics could even be effective against rapidly evolving viruses like influenza,” Dr. Ford continued.