From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Mon Jan 17 2000 - 09:41:00 MST


> Pleconaril is a member of a class of compounds that inhibit
> capsid function of picornaviruses. The capsid is essential for a
> virus to infect healthy cells. These compounds integrate into a
> hydrophobic pocket within the virus and interrupt the replication cycle.

This is a little vague, but it seems like it prevents the virus from
opening up to release the RNA (not by interfering with receptor binding
as I believe some drugs coming out of Australia are supposed to do).

If this works, then minor variants in the drug design could produce
molecules that work against all viruses that "decloak" via similar
mechanisms and have substantively similar capsid structures. While
as was pointed out, the capsid outer surfaces may vary, the interlocking
faces of the capsid sub-components cannot (without disrupting the
self-assembly or disassembly function). So if they have a "lock"
that binds the faces together (my best impression from their pictures),
then this would seem to be a generally good method for suppressing
the replication of the virus.

Science at its finest. This gets my vote for the sexiest breakthrough
so far in the new millennium. Its up there with the trojan horse
strategy against HIV that was announced last year.


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