Department of Biochemistry researchers working to develop antiviral drugs to prevent future pandemics

A recent letter to The Lancet, by Professors Raymond Dwek and Nicole Zitzmann from the Biochemistry Department with John I Bell and Marc Feldmann as co-authors, emphasises the importance of developing host-targeting antiviral drugs as an effective treatment during the SARS2-CoV pandemic and to prevent future epidemics from turning into pandemics.

Both Professors Dwek's and Zitzmann's teams have been working for more than 20 years developing a family of compounds called iminosugars, which are glucose analogues, that can be given orally, are safe, and have broad-spectrum antiviral properties. The antiviral properties of iminosugar derivatives have been demonstrated against a wide range of enveloped viruses in vitro and in vivo. Due to their antiviral mode of action, iminosugars are resistant to the development of viral escape mutants. As a host-targeting drug family, iminosugars could become the first weapons to use when an unknown virus strikes in the future.

You can read the full text of their letter on The Lancet's website here: Host-targeting oral antiviral drugs to prevent pandemics .


Raymond Dwek and Nicole Zitzmann 

1st April 2022