Southern Research Institute - Articles and news items

Launching an HTS campaign to discover new antivirals

Issue 3 2007 / 23 May 2007 / Colleen B. Jonsson, Ph.D., Program Leader, Emerging Infectious Disease Research and E. Lucile White, Manager, High-Throughput Screening Center and Enzymology Laboratory, Southern Research Institute, Birmingham, AL, United States

There are over 300 human viruses that have no treatment, vaccine or antiviral. Unfortunately, only sixty-two drugs are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of six different viral illnesses. Of these, 45% are for the treatment of HIV/AIDS. The remaining drugs offer treatments that target hepatitis B and C, herpes, influenza, and respiratory syncytial viruses. Antiviral drugs can play a significant role in the containment of an outbreak of an emerging virus. Vaccination of individuals during an outbreak can also prove effective; however, protection of an individual from the threat may not occur for two or more weeks after the initial vaccination. Hence, only a drug can be offered as a prophylactic treatment of individuals in an endemic area.

Pursuing hot targets in drug discovery

Issue 6 2006, Past issues / 28 November 2006 / Colleen B. Jonsson, Program Leader, Emerging Infectious Diseases Research, Southern Research Institute

Over the past few decades we have experienced a dramatic increase in the rate of emergence and re-emergence of infectious diseases1,2. Many of these diseases, such as SARS, resulted in fewer than 1,000 deaths, but caused an estimated 2 per cent decline gross domestic product in East Asia. The economic impact of a pandemic influenza outbreak could result in the loss of millions of lives and cost an estimated 900 billion (US).


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