Discovering Dengue Drugs-Together

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Flaviviridae Family Dengue hemorrhagic fever Hepatitis C West Nile Yellow fever

Targeted Diseases

Dengue virus
 (PDB 1K4R)

Dengue epidemic  in Malaysia





What viral diseases are we trying to cure?


Together, we are working to discover drugs that stop the replication of viruses within the Flaviviridae family. Although these viruses are closely related, they cause a wide variety of serious diseases, including dengue hemorrhagic fever, hepatitis C, West Nile encephalitis, and yellow fever. 


Dengue virus (DENV) infects 50 million (WHO) to 100 million (NIH) people annually. Forty percent of the world’s population, predominately in the tropics and sub-tropics, is at risk for contracting  dengue virus. DENV infection can cause dengue fever, dengue hemorrhagic fever, dengue shock syndrome, and death.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infects ~3% of the world’s population, and 80% of those infected develop a chronic infection.  HCV is transmitted primarily by blood transfusions, injection drug use, accidental needle sticks, and re-use of contaminated instruments in health care and other settings (e.g. tattoo parlors). It causes liver disease including hepatitis, cirrhosis, and cancer.


West Nile virus (WNV) infection can cause West Nile fever, severe diseases of the nervous system including West Nile encephalitis and West Nile meningitis, and death. It is transmitted by Culex mosquitoes, and is common in parts of Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. WNV was introduced into the United States in 1999 and now results in seasonal outbreaks throughout the US.


 Yellow fever virus (YFV) causes hundreds of thousands of new infections every year. Despite the existence of an effective vaccine, yellow fever virus continues to cause widespread illness and remains a significant public health concern in Africa and South America. While many YFV infections are mild, 15% of cases develop life-threatening symptoms. The mortality rate is ~7%.





Why are we interested in these diseases?


There are no effective drugs to treat any of these diseases. Consequently, the supportive care necessary to treat these infections and minimize mortality severely strains already burdened health facilities throughout the world. The discovery of both broad-spectrum and specific antiviral drugs will help change our world by improving global health.

Dengue NS3 protease
 (PDB  1BEF)



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