The Zika outbreak has been under constant scrutiny for nearly two years now (beginning with the Brazil epidemic in early 2015). Thankfully, the WHO announced the end of the Zika epidemic in 2016, but researchers are still hard at work finding specific therapeutics to battle this virus that has potentially to lead to severe consequences.
This week, Rausch et al. published a paper in Cell Reports identifying a panel of small molecules that seem to inhibit Zika entry into cells. The group, led by Sara Cherry, PhD, at the University of Pennsylvania, screened over 2000 bioactive molecules using high-throughput screening technology and identified 38 promising candidates. From there, they picked nanchangmycin as the most promising candidate. It seems to disrupt clathrin-mediated endocytosis.
Other related flaviviruses and non-flaviviruses, such as West Nile, dengue, and chikungunya, also use a similar method for cell entry. Nanchangmycin seems to also disrupt their ability to infect cells, so this research represents the beginning of potentially a new class of antivirals.
News Article: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170117140022.htm
Published Research Article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2016.12.068
-- Sharon Kam