UTSW Researchers Take New Approach to Fight Viral Infections; Inhibiting Proteins in Virus-Hijacked Cellular Pathway (mTOR) Halts Replication of Childhood Pathogen RSV and Coronaviruses

A new approach that targets the cellular machinery that viruses need to reproduce--rather than the virus itself--appears to halt replication of a common childhood pathogen known as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), University of Texas (UT) Southwestern researchers report in a new study. The findings, published online on December 24, 2021 in Scientific Reports, could offer a novel strategy to fight this virus and others, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The open-access article is titled “mTOR Kinase Is a Therapeutic Target for Respiratory Syncytial Virus and Coronaviruses.” “RSV is far and away the major respiratory pathogen in infants and children,” said study leader Jeffrey Kahn, MD, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics and Microbiology, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Disease at UT Southwestern, and Director of Infectious Diseases and Medical Director of Research at Children’s Medical Center Dallas. “The approach we’ve discovered turns the tables on this virus and potentially others in a whole new way.”
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