Submitted by: Odio @ 08:21 PM | Monday, March 14, 2016 | (url: http://medicalxpr...)
Today, there is only one class of antiviral medicines against herpesvirusesa family of viruses that cause mononucleosis, herpes, and shingles, among other illnesses - meaning options for treating these infections are limited. If viruses become resistant to these frontline treatments, a growing problem particularly in clinical settings, there are no alternative drugs to serve as backup.
In a search for new drugs to treat viral infections, scientists from the University of Utah School of Medicine found that a medicine routinely used to treat heart failure, spironolactone, has an unexpected ability to block infection by Epstein Barr virus (EBV), a herpesvirus that causes mono and is associated with several human cancers. They find that the drug's antiviral properties stem from its ability to block a key step in viral infection that is common to all herpesviruses. Spironolactone's target is distinct from that of existing drugs, revealing that it could be developed into a new class of anti-herpesvirus drug.
"It's remarkable that a drug we have used safely in the clinic for over 50 years is also an effective EBV inhibitor," says senior author Sankar Swaminathan, M.D., chief of infections disease at University of Utah Health Care and professor of internal medicine. "It goes to show how basic research can reveal things we would never have found otherwise." In collaboration with research assistant professor of internal medicine Dinesh Virma, Ph.D., and Jacob Thompson, he published the study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
This could come onto the market at just about the right time