Griffith University contributes to hPIV treatment research

Professor Mark von Itzstein
Professor Mark von Itzstein | Courtesy of Griffith University

New research from Griffith University's Institute for Glycomics may soon lead to the development of a treatment for human parainfluenza virus (hPIV), an illness that results in countless hospitalizations and deaths every year.

The virus, which commonly causes upper and lower respiratory tract disease in young children, attacks the respiratory tract by attaching to carbohydrate receptors, allowing the virus to gain entry to human respiratory epithelial cells to rapidly reproduce and cause illness. As published in the Nature Communications journal, the institute used a multi-disciplinary approach to create potent inhibitors that target a structural feature within the hPIV type 3 haemagglutinin-neuraminidase.

"These dual acting designer inhibitors represent the most potent designer compounds, and efficiently block both HPIV cell entry and virion progeny release," Professor Mark von Itzstein, the institute's director, said. "This discovery will advance research in the design and synthesis of new drugs that may stop infection by hPIV."

Itzstein said that there are currently no approved antiviral drugs or vaccines for clinical use against the virus, so  there is an immediate need for new therapeutic discovery strategies.

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