Viruses of the arthropod-borne Flavivirus genus infect over 200 million people worldwide each year, resulting in a significant disease burden in regions where such pathogens are endemic. Although vaccines exist for some of these viruses, there is currently neither effective vaccine nor specific therapy for West Nile virus (WNV) or Zika virus (ZIKV). During infection of the host cell, a single viral polyprotein is synthesized from the viral genome. This polyprotein is cleaved into its component proteins by a combination of host cell proteases and a two-component viral protease, encoded in genes NS2B and NS3. The function of this viral protease is essential for virus assembly and replication. We previously identified several existing drugs, including Temoporfin and erythrosin B, that are potent and broad-spectrum flavivirus inhibitors. The major goal of this proposal is to perform in vivo pharmacokinetics and efficacy studies to establish whether these two drugs, Temoporfin and Erythrosin B, are effective in animal models of ZIKV and DENV2. These studies are essential for drug repurposing. The approval of new compounds as drugs by governmental drug administration agencies requires significant effort, time, and expense. If drugs that are already approved for treatment have additional capabilities that can be exploited therapeutically, repurposing them is the fastest route to develop new therapies.

Public Health Relevance

Flaviviruses such as West Nile virus, Dengue virus, and Zika virus are worldwide endemic arthropod-borne human pathogens that infect over 200 million and kill over 100,000 people per year. Despite effective vaccines for JEV, YFV, and TBEV, difficulty in vaccinating large at risk populations and a lack of safe vaccines for devastating viruses such as Zika necessitate development of antiviral therapeutics to combat severe flavivirus infections. The proposed work will repurpose existing drugs for management of ZIKV and DENV infections.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Type
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
Project #
5R21AI133219-02
Application #
9534001
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZAI1)
Program Officer
Davis, Mindy I
Project Start
2017-08-01
Project End
2019-07-31
Budget Start
2018-08-01
Budget End
2019-07-31
Support Year
2
Fiscal Year
2018
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Name
Wadsworth Center
Department
Type
DUNS #
153695478
City
Menands
State
NY
Country
United States
Zip Code
12204
Li, Zhong; Sakamuru, Srilatha; Huang, Ruili et al. (2017) Erythrosin B is a potent and broad-spectrum orthosteric inhibitor of the flavivirus NS2B-NS3 protease. Antiviral Res 150:217-225