Dengue epidemic in
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
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.
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
While many YFV infections are mild, 15% of cases develop life-threatening
symptoms. The mortality rate is ~7%.
Why are we interested in these
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