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United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases have developed an antiviral compound that attacks a wide variety of viruses through a common feature: their outer coating.
Essentially, there are two kinds of viruses: one is enveloped in a membrane, and the other is bare-naked. The clothed ones are covered, or enveloped, in a lipid substance that is central to their attack arsenal. The newly discovered compound, a rhodanine derivative that the researchers have dubbed "LJ001," inactivates the membrane and thus disrupts infection.
Obviously, since LJ001 works by attacking a virus membrane, it doesn't work against viruses that naturally exist without a membrane. However, a large number of membrane-enveloped viruses could be treated with this approach: These include HIV-1, influenza A, filoviruses, poxviruses, arenaviruses, bunyaviruses, paramyxoviruses and flaviviruses. These viruses cause some of the world's deadliest diseases: AIDS, Nipah virus encephalitis, Ebola, hemorrhagic fever and Rift Valley fever. This newfound interest raises the question of why the government feels a need to so aggressively seek cures for viral infections.
That stockpiling leads to an urgent need to find antivirals to combat even diseases that once were thought extinct. SIGA Technologies, a drug development company in the biodefense arena, told TechNewsWorld that it anticipates approval from the U.S. Successful antiviral drugs are not limited to those that attack the outside structure of the virus. Nature, focuses on clarifying previous studies with conflicting views on how antiviral drugs that block influenza A viruses work. This new study finds that antivirals prevent influenza A viruses from reproducing and spreading by attaching to a site within a proton channel necessary for the virus to infect healthy cells.
Similarly, the exact mechanism of LJ001's viral membrane inactivation is unknown, and the researchers are seeking an explanation.
By attacking a common feature such as channels in flu viruses and sticky membranes in even deadlier viruses, an antiviral becomes effective against an entire group rather than just against a single virus. LJ001 has been found to prevent infection to mice when the virus was pretreated, however post-infection treatment has been unsuccessful. Ads displayed by Android applications have long been exploited by criminals to spread malware. Doctor Web urges Android users to be more sceptical about various ads displayed by applications and to use reliable anti-virus software, when necessary. For centuries, healthcare experts have struggled to treat everything from virus-induced sniffles to lethal epidemics.

A small-molecule 'broad spectrum' antiviral may be able to fight everything from flu to Ebola to AIDS. The compound should also work against viruses we haven't yet discovered or that have not yet emerged on the scene, as long as they have a membrane.
One part of the answer is particularly ominous: Viral diseases have been stockpiled by some governments as leading components of biological warfare. For example, it has been over 30 years since the last incident of smallpox -- yet it is now feared again, as a primary biological weapon. Viral illnesses such as the recent H1N1 flu outbreak pose sweeping threats to entire countries with little regard for geopolitics.
What knowledge is available is for the most part reassuring, including that the drug does not appear to be toxic in vitro or in animals at normal dosages. This is all very hopeful stuff in light of the growing viral threats on both the natural and man-made fronts.
5, 2010: Our original publication of this article stated that SIGA expected FDA approval for its antiviral smallpox cure in 2010, based on erroneous information provided on behalf of SIGA for this story.
It involves various Android programs displaying advertisements that prompt users to scan their mobile devices for viruses and then lure them into downloading a fake anti-virus for Android. Being an effective and relatively inexpensive means to reach a wide audience, advertisements are often used in schemes. At the very core of the problem is the constant emergence of new viruses and the continuous flux of old ones. For example, Ribavirin affects both virus proteins and the host cell and is effective on only a limited number of viruses. The precise way a specific drug works is thus often less clear than the studies that report the outcome would seem to indicate.
In fact, SIGA anticipates FDA approval in the second half of 2011, company spokesperson Sharron Silvers told TechNewsWorld on Feb.
The company is a key player on the Russian market for software that meets the fundamental need of any business — information security.
It doesn't help that even the strongest antibiotics are impotent against even the weakest virus.
An antiviral that attacks the hepatitis C virus, a-interferon, produces unwanted side effects and is too expensive for widespread use.
Doctor Web is one of the few anti-virus vendors in the world to have its own technologies to detect and cure malware. This is why the recent discovery of a new broad spectrum antiviral treatment is nothing to sneeze at.

The measles virus was derived from the strain used in routine measles vaccine but had been carefully altered by scientists to enhance its tumor killing effects.
The choice of measles for the cancer was quite deliberate—this virus is known to seek out and attack a type of white blood cell that myeloma arises from.
The investigators simply harnessed measles virus’ natural born killer tendency.As the investigators noted, the patients’ lack of immunity was critical to the success of this study.
This is a good thing to assure they will not develop measles but would be extremely problematic for measles oncolytic therapy—the patient’s own antibody would kill off the killer measles before it could reach the cancer cell. Thus a major problem with all oncolytic virus treatment—the patient’s immune system, which has its own seek and destroy mission—was circumvented in the Mayo trial.For these patients, it is unclear how long the treatment benefit will last.
But using the muscle power of viruses and other infections is an exciting new frontier, albeit one based on rather old observations.Scientists have been fascinated by the approach for years. One of the first possible demonstrations of effect was with the use, more than 100 years ago, of something called Coley’s toxin, a mish-mosh of killed bacteria and other proteins that was injected near and directly into solid tumors.Although the approach engendered substantial excitement, Coley’s toxins were never proven to be beneficial.
In 1963, more than 70 years after it was introduced, the FDA determined that the product could only be given in the context of clinical trials. The strategy, though, captured the imagination of scientists worldwide and gave birth to the field of immunotherapy, which is extremely hot today.The next well-publicized study using infection to kill cancer took place in the 1950s. West Nile virus, then considered a harmless infection, was given to more than 100 patients at what is now Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. This unexpected finding, as well as the mediocre antitumor effect, led to the end of the trial.But once again, the science of the approach was compelling. A generation later, a better understanding of viruses and their ability to enter and destroy certain cells made “oncolytic virus” treatment again of interest to scientists.
Herpes virus, adenovirus and many others have been studied against a wide variety of cancers; many trials are ongoing. The enthusiasm is such that even the oldest of all vaccines—vaccinia, the ur-shot used to prevent small pox—has been called into action with interesting preliminary results.Though an area of very active investigation, no one is certain why this approach works.
Once again we should walk the fine line between soaring hope and miserly caution and give scientists the time (and funding) to complete thoughtful, well-designed studies.

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