Biophysicists target mechanism that makes Zika virus so dangerous

Paves the way for potential new drugs for viruses including dengue, yellow fever and West Nile

Biophysicists target mechanism that makes Zika virus so dangerousA new study by University of Alberta biophysicists has revealed how a rare structure forms within RNA from the Zika virus that makes it resistant to our bodies’ immune systems. The results provide a potential target for new drug therapies to combat the virus and others like it. “Due to the structure formed within the…

New study may help explain low oxygen levels in COVID-19 patients

U of A researchers find SARS-CoV-2 infects immature red blood cells, reducing oxygen in the blood and impairing immune response

New study may help explain low oxygen levels in COVID-19 patientsA new study published in the journal Stem Cell Reports by University of Alberta researchers sheds light on why many COVID-19 patients, even those not in hospital, are suffering from hypoxia – a potentially dangerous condition in which there’s decreased oxygenation in the body’s tissues. The study also shows why the anti-inflammatory drug dexamethasone has been…

How a much-needed oral antiviral drug confuses Covid-19

How a much-needed oral antiviral drug confuses Covid-19A University of Alberta virology lab has uncovered how an oral antiviral drug works to attack the SARS-CoV-2 virus, in findings published May 10 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. SARS-CoV-2 is the official name of the Covid-19 virus. The researchers demonstrated the underlying mechanism of action by which the antiviral drug molnupiravir changes the viral genome, a…

Research on how flu drug works may reveal how to outsmart variants

Researcher sees parallels in the challenges of developing antiviral drugs for respiratory infections caused by influenza and coronaviruses

Research on how flu drug works may reveal how to outsmart variantsA University of Alberta laboratory has uncovered the mechanism of action for a recently approved influenza drug in newly published research. The scientists discovered that the drug baloxavir marboxil binds highly efficiently to an enzyme that is key to how the influenza virus replicates inside an infected patient. They also showed how a mutation of…

Suspect COVID-19 test upended human rights around the world

Portuguese court finds that the test, in itself, is unable to determine, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a person is infected

Suspect COVID-19 test upended human rights around the worldEvery day, the news tells us about new COVID-19 positive test results. But are they reliable? Kary Mullis, the late inventor of the diagnostic test for SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind COVID-19, explained how his test could be misused. So did a Portuguese court that ruled a positive test is an insufficient basis to isolate or…

Researchers developing treatment for protective wear that kills viruses

‘Self-decontaminating’ medical gowns and masks could also be washed and reused, says U of A textile scientist

Researchers developing treatment for protective wear that kills virusesNew University of Alberta research aims to make medical gowns and masks even safer for front-line health-care workers. Using a one-year, $50,000 NSERC Alliance COVID-19 grant, textiles scientist Patricia Dolez is leading research on developing a textile treatment that would kill viruses – including COVID-19 – on contact. “We are developing something that will make these fabrics self-decontaminating,”…

Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute gets $20M in funding

Research hub gains significant provincial support to accelerate research and commercialization of antiviral drugs and vaccines

Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute gets $20M in fundingThe government of Alberta signalled its support for the University of Alberta’s leadership in Alberta’s biotech sector by announcing $20 million in new funding for the U of A’s Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute (AVI) during a celebration of Michael Houghton’s Nobel Prize. This builds on the more than $30 million the government has…

Nobel Prize winner inspires researchers to ask the big questions

Michael Houghton's colleagues talk about the power of collaboration to help fight viruses that plague the world

Nobel Prize winner inspires researchers to ask the big questionsIt was a chance conversation with a colleague in chemistry that led University of Alberta virologist Maya Shmulevitz to the glow-in-the-dark eel protein, a discovery that’s advancing cancer therapy in a new way. It’s common practice for researchers to use fluorescent proteins to track how viruses behave inside a cell. But the usual proteins are too…