Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Nipping the Bud

Compound identified that inhibits Marburg virus binding to host cells

11 June 2021

Nipping the Bud

To tackle a viral infection, you can either take aim at the virus itself, or make the host a little less hospitable. A new attempt to develop treatments for the Marburg virus (a deadly virus related to Ebola that has limited approved treatment options) takes the latter approach. Researchers tested a compound that inhibits NEDD4 (yellow in the host cell pictured), a human protein that the virus hijacks to help it ‘bud’ off. Budding allows the virus to spread so denying access to this key protein could help keep it in place. The team tested how their inhibitor affected cells infected with virus-like-particles (green), and then human samples and live mice infected with Marburg virus. It reduced budding in samples and improved the outlook for infected mice. There are similarities between the host-virus interactions of Marburg virus and SARS-CoV-2 meaning this approach could help keep more than one virus at bay.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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