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Winning the War Against Human Parainfluenza Virus

Researchers at Griffith University’s Institute for Glycomics have moved a step closer to identifying a treatment for the Human parainfluenza virus (hPIV).

These highly-infectious viruses are the leading cause of upper and lower respiratory tract disease in young children, including Croup, responsible for thousands of hospitalizations in the developed world, and hundreds of thousands of deaths each year in developing countries.

To gain entry to human respiratory epithelial cells, hPIV attaches to carbohydrate receptors. They then enter cells and reproduce rapidly, causing illness.

The researchers used a multi-disciplinary approach to develop potent inhibitors that target a structural feature within the hPIV type 3 haemagglutinin-neuraminidase (hPIV-3 HN). The dual acting designer inhibitors efficiently block both hPIV cell entry and virion progeny release.

Institute Director Professor Mark von Itzstein said his Group’s research findings, published this week in Nature Communications, provided a new direction towards the discovery of anti-viral drugs against hPIV.

“To date, neither antiviral drugs nor vaccines are approved for clinical use against human parainfluenza virus, which reinforces the urgent need for new therapeutic discovery strategies,” said von Itzstein. “This discovery will advance research in the design and synthesis of new drugs that may stop infection by hPIV.”

Read the study at Nature Communications: Structure-guided discovery of potent and dual-acting human parainfluenza virus ​haemagglutinin–neuraminidase inhibitors.

Image: Transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of human parainfluenza virus Type-4a (HPIV-4). The incubation period for HPIVs is generally from 1 to 7 days. Credit: CDC

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