Research // Infectious Disease //

Drug targets in viral disease

Viruses are a constant threat to global health. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections are huge killers. Meanwhile, other dangerous viruses, especially those carried by mosquitoes that cause Dengue fever, Yellow fever and Zika, are becoming increasingly prevalent due to climatic changes.

Maurice Wilkins Centre scientists are actively involved in the development of new antiviral drugs.

Targeting viral RNA polymerase, a protein found in viruses, has proven to be an effective approach when developing antiviral therapies. We have developed and licensed a novel class of antiviral drugs that inhibit viral RNA dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP) – which also happens to be the main target of Sofosbuvir, a highly effective drug used to treat HCV.  

The Maurice Wilkins Centre aims to extend this class of antivirals by examining their ability to bind to and inhibit RdRPs from medically relevant viruses, especially flaviviruses, and optimising their antiviral activity with the aid of structural biology and medicinal chemistry techniques.