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FIP treatment research: targeting viral replication

Kim Y, Mandadapu SR, Groutas WC and Chang KO. Potent inhibition of feline coronaviruses with peptidyl compounds targeting coronavirus 3C-like protease. Antiviral research. 2013; 97: 161-8

Feline coronavirus is associated with development of feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), a lethal disease of cats. Development of effective drugs to treat FIP has been frustrating, and currently there is no specific treatment approved. Research projects are now focusing on new strategies to combat this virus. 

In this study, researchers focused on a particular viral protein to target with an inhibitor. The target they selected is an enzyme (3C-like protease). During viral replication, the coronavirus produces a polyprotein that must be processed into a mature protein by this and other enzymes. Compounds (peptidyl inhibitors) were developed that inhibited the function of the 3C-like protease. In cell culture, these compounds did inhibit feline coronavirus replication. When combined with another similar compound, virus replication was dramatically affected. These drugs offer hope for development of future treatments for FIP. [MK]

See also: Kim Y, Lovell S, Tiew KC, et al. Broad-spectrum antivirals against 3C or 3C-like proteases of picornaviruses, noroviruses, and coronaviruses. Journal of virology. 2012; 86: 11754-62.