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Sep 19, 2016 07:59 AM EDT

The Kansas State University Foundation has earned a patent for antiviral development. This would be most helpful for travelers who are exposed to common viruses and can carry diseases back home with them. It is also helpful in the fight against possible bioterrorism threats.

Healio reported that the Kansas State University Research Foundation received a patent for the broad-spectrum antivirals that researchers at the school and Wichita State University have developed. Kyeong-Ok Chang, DVM, MS, PhD, associate professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology, Kansas State University; Yunjeong Kim, DVM, PhD, researcher assistant and associate professor of chemistry and pathobiology, Kansas State University; and William C. Groutas, PhD, distinguished professor of chemistry, Wichita State University developed the antivirals.

These antivirals are macrocyclic compounds that do not easily disintegrate in a patient's bloodstream. Their aim is to lessen the incidence of common infections, such as norovirus and rhinovirus as well as any virus that poses a bioterrorism threat among travelers, students and military personnel.
According to Kansas State University's official website, the research is federally funded by the National Institutes of Health. Kim noted that antivirals are "therapeutic tools" but can be used as a preventive measure to virus exposure.

"Macrocyclic compounds are kind of a big trend in antivirals or any drug development because of their highly stable nature in the body," Chang said. These compounds are spiral-shaped structures that are highly stable in the patient's bloodstream.

Moreover, the compounds need to internalize inside target cells where viruses multiply in order to inhibit viral growth. KSU Research Foundation's patented compounds inactivate the viral enzyme produced during active replication in the cells. It is still expected to undergo several years of testing before these compounds are made available to consumers.

"Like any drug development, potential compounds need to satisfy many additional requirements, including cell safety and stability, and eventual antiviral efficacy in the body," Chang added. "That's why it takes years to develop antivirals."

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