New discovery could lead to cure for the world’s deadliest viruses
Scientists figured out how to disrupt reproduction in Hepatitis C, Zika and Ebola.
Attention viruses: Your days are numbered.
A new study figured out a way to mess up virus reproduction. This could pave the way for a cure to Hepatitis C, Zika, Ebola and a whole number of the world's deadliest viruses.
Scientists from Israel's Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Harvard University and MIT in Massachusetts, and Duisburg-Essen and the University of Düsseldorf in Germany conducted research to figure out how to alter virus life cycles. The research was led by Hebrew University's Professor Yaakov Nahmias, who is also currently developing machines that can grow chicken meat in a laboratory without hurting animals.
Viruses can't reproduce on their own. They need human cells to help them, which they hijack and turn into tiny virus nurseries. That means our cells play a big role in virus reproduction, and the scientists figured out a way to use that to our advantage.
The researchers found the genes that tell our cells how to react to the Hepatitis C virus. They used drugs to block some of these genes. Sometimes, blocking actually helped the viruses. Other times, it actually stopped them from reproducing.
“This is the first indication that our cells can block replication of Flaviviridae viruses like HCV and Zika by denying them critical building blocks the viruses need to survive,” explained Nahmias. “Our results present a new approach to treating virus infection by targeting the genetic regulation of metabolic processes on which the virus rely.”
In short, scientists may have figured out a way to use our own genes against viruses, stopping them from reproducing. Humans and viruses have battled for a long time, and now there's some light at the end of the tunnel.
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