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Transferrable Drug Design for Hepatitis A Virus Inhibition

Study by researchers from Sichuan University, Tsinghua University, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences found possibilities of a structure for development hepatitis A treatment.

Although there are effective vaccines, antivirals against hepatitis A infection are still required during outbreaks, and to date there are no licensed therapeutic drugs. The authors hypothesized that better knowledge of how neutralizing antibodies naturally defend cells from hepatitis A infection might facilitate the development of hepatitis A-targeting antiviral drugs.

According to a study published in the open-access journal PLOS Biology by Dan Su of Sichuan University, Zihe Rao of Tsinghua University, Xiangxi Wang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and colleagues, reported four potent hepatitis A virus-specific antibodies. They have previously reported one antibody that inhibits efficiently the binding of hepatitis A virus to the host cell.

The researchers gained insights of the antibody structural neutralizing effect on the virus using high-resolution cryogenic electron microscopy. Using molecular modelling, the authors then identified one promising inhibitor, named golvatinib, from the DrugBank Database. In vitro assays confirmed its ability to block viral infection and unveiled its neutralizing mechanism. According to the authors, this combined experimental and computational approach could be useful in the rational design of effective drugs for picornavirus infections. [APBN]