A study appearing next week in the journal Nature Communications offers some good news in the search for antiviral drugs for hard-to-treat diseases. The enterovirus 71 is a common cause of hand, foot, and mouth disease in infants and young children. Now, scientists have discovered a potential therapeutic that can target the virus. The therapeutic is a small molecule that binds to the RNA of the virus and changing its 3D shape in a way that stops the virus from propogating and leading on the infection.
"For diseases that don't have good treatments, maybe the problem is we've been targeting the wrong thing," said co-author Amanda Hargrove, associate professor of chemistry at Duke.
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There are currently no FDA-approved drugs or vaccines for the enterovirus. The study could pave the way for an new antiviral treatment. Earlier studies found that a region of the RNA in the enterovirus folds over on itself where unpaired nucleotides balloon out. The present study is looking into targeting that area that allows the virus to spread.
Source: Science Daily