The Nipah virus, first identified in 1998 and is transmitted from pigs and bats, has resulted in a high mortality rate killing more than half of all infected individuals in Bangladesh and India. Although, there has not been more than 150 fatalities from the virus, it is still a deadly threat that may lead to a pandemic. To counteract that issue, researchers have examined the molecular structure of the virus to come up with 150 possible drug targets.
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The drug targets identified were possible inhibitors of the virus that block its detrimental effects. In the study, researchers from the Indian Institute of Science Education first modeled in 3D nine Nipah virus proteins before designing inhibitory molecules that block the activity of the protein. They then tested the efficacy of these inhibitors on 15 different viral strains.
Using computational analysis, they identified 4 putative peptides inhibitor therapeutics against the Nipah virus protein products and an additional 146 small molecule inhibitors. Overall, thirteen compounds were believed to the most promising based on characteristics such as strength, stability, and effectiveness against variable Nipah viral strains.
"We conclude that it is highly likely that the proposed inhibitors would be potent against all strains of the virus Nipah and other related zoonotic viruses that pose a serious epidemic threat," the researchers say. "Computational approaches can help identify and design inhibitors that could be rapidly tested or even deployed."
Findings were published in the journal, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.
Source: Science Daily