IIT scholars discover new drug to combat Chikungunya virus

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NEW DELHI: Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Roorkee working to develop a cure for Chikungunya have discovered the anti-viral properties of the drug piperazine, and determined the mechanism to combat the disease. The findings have been published in the ` Antiviral Research’ journal by the Elsevier group.

Chikungunya is an infectious viral disease which is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes infected with the virus. The research talks about the potential of piperazine as a pharmacotherapeutic agent, and how binding these molecules to the hydrophobic pocket of capsid protein, present in the Chikungunya virus, offers a new perspective for therapeutic intervention, thereby inhibiting the spread of the virus.

Dr Shailly Tomar of the Biotechnology department at the institute said, “Chikungunya is gradually becoming a major public health concern, with many affected by it every year. There is no vaccine or antiviral drug available in the market for the cure of chikungunya currently. The treatment focussed on relieving the symptoms associated with the virus infection. Developing a new antiviral drug molecule can take over a decade and that is the reason why we are looking at repositioning existing, approved drugs and testing these to see if they might inhibit or kill pathogenic viruses.”

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