One of the major challenges facing the pharmaceutical industry is to discover ways to combat common viral infections. Especially in the autumn-winter period, with reduced resistance to pathogens, it is difficult to avoid a disease caused by the virus. The treatment of this type of infection is usually troublesome and rarely effective in one hundred percent. That is why researchers devote a lot of attention to particular particularly virulent types of viruses, trying to find a way to combat them more effectively.
One of the diseases that seem particularly troublesome is infection with the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1). It is one of the most widespread pathogens found in humans - fifty to ninety percent of the world's population is known to carry the virus, according to studies. In Poland, this disease affects every third person over the age of XNUMX. Probably everyone has encountered the symptoms of this infection - sores that may appear on the face, skin, lips or tongue. Few people know, however, that infection with this virus can lead to much more serious diseases, including eye inflammation and encephalitis, which in turn can lead to permanent damage to health or even death of the patient.
Apart from these cases, however, HSV-1 infection is particularly bothersome due to its recurrent nature. Although there are medications that can be used to temporarily control infection when symptoms occur, they do not eliminate the latent virus. That is why, although we can alleviate the symptoms of primary infection and reduce the frequency of relapses, we still have to recur. To make matters worse, the emergence of viral strains resistant to this type of drug has been increasing in recent years. Finding a new approach to therapy in the case of infection with this virus seems to be of utmost importance.
For this reason, the new drug for HSV-1, recently developed by scientists from the Jagiellonian University, raises great hope. Instead of focusing on combating the active form of the pathogen, which only reveals itself when symptoms occur, the researchers decided to stop the virus from spreading in our body. Therefore, they focused on a drug that would have the ability to inhibit HSV-1 virus replication. This is important because after the period of infection, the already multiplied virus goes to sleep, hiding in the nerve cells of our body, where our immune system has no access to it. For this reason, the infection period is the only time we have the chance to fight the virus once and for all.
So far, researchers have confirmed the high effectiveness of the new agent in inhibiting HSV-1 virus replication. Other advantages of the proposed drug are the possibility of using it in the form of an ointment or drops (topically on the skin or into the eye), as well as orally and intravenously. It also shows very low toxicity in in vitro tests. This solution is the subject of a patent application. Further work on its development is carried out by scientists from the Faculty of Chemistry and the Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Biotechnology of the Jagiellonian University. Currently, the Technology Transfer Center (CITTRU) is looking for entities interested in cooperation in further commercialization of this innovation, especially in the scope of purchasing a license for the described new measure and its application.
Author: Katarzyna Nowacka