Promising New Class of Inhibitors Against West Nile Virus

There is a new finding that might provide the fight against the West Nile virus some positive boost. Researchers hailing from the Washington University School of Medicine have recently identified a new class of compounds that can effectively inhibit the replication of the said virus.

The West Nile virus belongs to the flavivirus family of viruses which also includes the yellow fever virus and the dengue virus. The West Nile virus can infect not only humans but also horses and other vertebrate species. The means of infection usually comes from a bite of a mosquito infected with the West Nile virus.

The prevalence of the West Nile virus has been confirmed in 48 of the continental United States as well as in other countries like Canada, Mexico, South America and the Caribbean. Currently, there is no approved vaccine or treatment yet available effective enough for human use.

In the said study, researchers checked over 80,000 compounds contained in a commercial library to gauge their ability to restrain the replication of the West Nile virus. They were able to identify ten compounds that showed strong inhibitory responses to a variety of West Nile virus isolates.

A number of the compounds that were identified had not been previously considered as possible prospects against the said virus. Some of the compounds also show positive inhibitory responses against yellow fever and dengue viruses.

Although it might be too early to tell if such compounds may prove useful for use in treating the disease in infected humans, it might provide a way for other researchers with a means to study how such compounds may work in inhibiting the replication of the West Nile virus. This might help lead researchers to be able to develop a vaccine against the said disease in the near future.

The study can also pave the way for researchers in the future to find different ways in combating similar viruses that may also threaten humans. Reducing the threat of dengue especially in the developing countries may be one instance that may benefit from the said study since the same compounds that were seen to work well with inhibiting the replication of the West Nile virus may also work with some viruses that belong to the same family.

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