THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

New research shows promise towards development of adenovirus vaccine

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have found two compounds, out of a national database of 140,000, that show promise for the development of a vaccine against human adenovirus.

Adenovirus is responsible for multiple ailments in the body, including respiratory diseases, childhood pneumonia and eye infections. Regardless of the type of infection the virus causes, all viruses share a proteinase enzyme, which means one vaccine could protect against all diseases caused by the adenovirus. The results of the study were published in FEBS Letters, a Federation of European Biochemical Societies' journal.

Out of 140,000 compounds considered for research, 30 were predicted to be the best match and two were found to be effective in blocking the adenovirus enzyme. Mangel and his team conducted another study years prior, which found that the adenovirus enzyme cleaves proteins during the development of new virus particles. This process is what makes the virus infectious.

"Once those proteins are cleaved, the newly synthesized virus particle is infectious," Mangel said. "If those proteins are not cleaved, then the infection is aborted. Thus, inhibitors of the adenovirus proteinase should be effective antiviral agents against all strains of adenovirus."

Mangel's research team found that the enzyme was highly reliant on a small piece of an additional adenovirus protein and DNA. In the study, the two effective compounds successfully blocked these targets to prevent the enzyme from functioning. This technique could potentially be successful in combating all diseases caused by the adenovirus when used in a vaccine.

"This work should pave the way for the development of effective drugs against all types of adenovirus infections," Mangel said.