Fighting dreaded Chikungunya: IIT Roorkee researchers are working on a drug

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Published: October 9, 2017 2:52:37 AM

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee have said they have discovered the antiviral potential of the drug piperazine and determined the mechanism to combat the deadly chikungunya, an infectious viral disease, which is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes infected with the virus.

chikungunya, iit roorkee chikungunya vaccine, iit roorkee chikungunya drug The treatment focused on relieving the symptoms associated with the infection. (PTI)

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee have said they have discovered the antiviral potential of the drug piperazine and determined the mechanism to combat the deadly chikungunya, an infectious viral disease, which is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes infected with the virus. The research, published in ‘Antiviral Research,’ a journal of the Netherlands-based Elsevier group, talks about the potential of piperazine as a pharmacotherapeutic agent, and how binding these molecules to the hydrophobic pocket of capsid protein, present in chikungunya virus, offers a new perspective for therapeutic intervention, thereby inhibiting the spread of the virus.

“Piperazine is a drug commonly used in deworming treatments. Scientists discovered the antiviral potential of piperazine and determined the mechanism of inhibition of chikungunya virus using macromolecular crystallography. They found that piperazine binds itself well with the hydrophobic pocket on the alphavirus capsid protein. This pocket is key to the replication of the virus. The inhibition of this pocket prevents spread of the virus,” IIT Roorkee said in a statement.

Talking about the research, Dr Shailly Tomar from the Department of Biotechnology at IIT Roorkee said, “There is no vaccine or antiviral available for treating chikungunya. The treatment focused on relieving the symptoms associated with the infection. Developing a new antiviral drug molecule can take over a decade and that is the reason we are looking at repositioning existing, approved drugs and testing these to see if they might inhibit or kill pathogenic viruses.”

Dr Tomar said the research has shown that piperazine, a drug already in the market, is successful in curbing the spread of chikungunya virus in a lab setting. “We are testing the molecule on animals and hope to take this to clinical trials soon,” she added.

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