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Breakthrough in Pharmaceutical Research to Treat Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea

 Research

A research team from the School of Life Science of Tianjin University has made a remarkable breakthrough in pharmaceutical research in the treatment of porcine epidemic diarrhea. A new antiviral inhibitor was designed and its molecular mechanism was identified at atomic resolution. The study was published in Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, an authoritative journal in the field of medicinal chemistry.

Porcine epidemic diarrhea is an intestinal infectious disease which causes heavy losses to the hog industry as no existing medicine can effectively combat it. In 1971, porcine epidemic diarrhea firstly broke out in Britain, then Asian countries. China also became a victim with the loss of many piglets at the end of 2010. In 2013 porcine epidemic diarrhea struck North America, spreading across America, Canada and Mexico. The North American pork market witnessed a sharp rise in pork prices as the result of losing more than eight million pigs in that year.

Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) causes high mortality in pigs. PEDV main protease plays an essential role in viral replication. The new antiviral inhibitor is able to identify the active site of the main protease and launch a “chemical attack” against key amino acids catalytic to the main protease. As a result, it can inhibit the viral protease.

To precisely explain the action mechanism of the new inhibitors, X-ray diffraction is used to determine the crystal structure of complex of virus protease with inhibitors. All achievements concerning porcine epidemic diarrhea lay a foundation to combat the disease.

By: Liao Xueying, Peng Shiyue, Xu Hui
Editors: Sun Xiaofang and Ross Colquhoun