CSU, UNC researchers developing drug to fight West Nile, other viruses

By: Steve Wednesday May 30, 2012 0 comments Tags: West Nile virus

FORT COLLINS - Professors at Colorado State University and the University of Northern Colorado are developing a drug that can stop replication of West Nile, dengue and yellow fever viruses.

Research by Brian Geiss, assistant professor in CSU's  Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, and Susan Keenan, associate professor and director of UNC's School of Biological Sciences appears this week online in the Journal of Virology.

More than two billion people are at risk globally of infection by dengue virus, and West Nile virus is endemic in 47 of the 48 lower United States.

Geiss and Keenan are developing a drug that can bind a protein critical for viral replication and block the protein's function. Geiss and Keenan have filed a provisional patent with CSU Ventures to commercialize the technology.

"We're in the process of testing these drugs against a number of different flatviruses and trying to improve how well it works in animal models, so there's a lot more work to do to get it to the point where it would be used as an investigational new drug," Geiss said. "However, this is an exciting new finding that has the potential to reduce the suffering caused by these serious pathogens."

Geiss' and Keenan's research is supported by the Rocky Mountain Regional Center of Excellence at CSU, one of only 10 NIH-supported centers in the nation aimed at developing new therapeutics and diagnostics against emerging infectious diseases.

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