Blog

May 13, 2019

Snapshot of chikungunya could lead to drugs, vaccines for viral arthritis

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Chikungunya virus, once confined to the Eastern Hemisphere, has infected more than 1 million people in the Americas since 2013, when mosquitoes carrying the virus were discovered in the Caribbean. Most people who become infected develop fever and joint pain that last about a week. But in up to half of patients, the virus can cause severe arthritis that persists for months or years. There is no treatment to prevent the short-lived infection from persisting into chronic arthritis.

Now, researchers have uncovered information that could help stop the debilitating condition. A team at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has snapped high-resolution pictures of the virus latched onto a found on the surface of cells in the joints. The protein used in the study was taken from mice, but people have the same protein, and the virus interacts with the mouse and human proteins in virtually identical ways.

The structures, published May 9 in the journal Cell, shows in atomic-level detail how the virus and cell-surface protein fit together – data that promises to accelerate efforts to design drugs and vaccines to prevent or treat arthritis caused by chikungunya or related viruses.

Read more

Leave a reply