New sugar-based antiviral materials have been developed to destroy contact viruses and may help in the battle against viral outbreaks.
This new development came from a joint team of international scientists who believe that the antivirus has shown promise for the treatment of herpes simplex (cold sore virus), respiratory syncytial virus, Zika , HIV and hepatitis C, to name a few of them. The team was able to treat a number of viruses in the lab— including respiratory infections along with genital herpes.
The research is the result of an association between the University of Manchester, the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and the EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland. Even though at a very early stage of development, the broad scale of operation of this new methodology could also be successful against newly widespread viral diseases such as the recent coronavirus outbreak.
Named ‘virucide’ chemicals, such as bleach, are typically capable of terminating viruses in contact but are extremely toxic to humans and therefore cannot be taken or applied to the human body without causing serious harm. The development of sugar virucides has led to the advent of a new type of antiviral drug that destroys viruses and is not toxic to humans.
Current antiviral drugs function by inhibiting the growth of the virus within the host, but they are not always effective as viruses can mutate and become resistant to these cures.
Using altered sugar molecules, the team has revealed that the external shell of the virus can be destroyed, destroying with it the infectious particles that are in contact using the antiviral drug, as opposed to simply restricting their growth. The new approach has also been shown to defend against mutation or drug resistance.
Publishing their research paper in Science Advances, the team has shown that they have successfully developed new modified molecules using natural glucose derivatives, known as cyclodextrins. Molecules draw viruses before splitting them in contact with each other, killing the virus and fighting the infection.
The molecule is patented and a company is being formed to carry on bringing this new antiviral drug into real-world use. Further testing of this treatment various methods are being used like using in creams, ointments, and nasal sprays or other similar viral infection treatments. This thrilling new antiviral treatment will act to break down several viruses, making new and cost-effective treatments even for resistant viruses that have mutated.