News FocusAmerican Chemical Society Fall Meeting, 16–20 August, Washington, D.C.

Sugary Achilles' Heel Raises Hope For Broad-Acting Antiviral Drugs

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Science  04 Sep 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5945, pp. 1200
DOI: 10.1126/science.325_1200a

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At the fall meeting of the American Chemical Society, researchers reported that a protein that binds sugar groups on the outermost proteins of HIV, gumming up the virus's machinery for entering cells, does nearly as well against the SARS and Ebola viruses, showing promise as a broad-spectrum antiviral. So far, the protein has been tested only in animals and in cell cultures. But if it works in humans without unacceptable side effects, the researchers say, its stability and cheapness to manufacture could make it particularly useful in developing countries.