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New vulnerability found in major human viruses

June 11, 2019 / phys.org

Discovery of a new feature of a large class of pathogenic viruses may allow development of new antiviral medications for the common cold, polio, and other illnesses, according to a new study publishing June 11 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology by Rana Abdelnabi and Johan Neyts of the University of Leuven, Belgium, and James Geraets and Sarah Butcher of the University of Helsinki and their colleagues. Picornaviruses include rhinoviruses and enteroviruses. Rhinoviruses cause millions of cases of upper respiratory infections ("colds") yearly and contribute to asthma, and enteroviruses are responsible for millions of infections including cases such as meningitis, encephalitis and polio. There are currently no antivirals that can be used for the treatment or prevention of any of the rhino- or enteroviruses. To replicate, viruses must interact with host cells, and in doing so, often need to change shape; stabilizing the virus particle is therefore thought to be a promising st...