Researchers at the University of Utah are working on using peptide mimics as drug target surrogates to develop new treatments for Ebola. A collaborative team led by Debra Eckert, Ph.D., research assistant professor of biochemistry, and Michael S. Kay, M.D., Ph.D., professor of biochemistry, have identified a peptide sequence that is conserved in all known species of Ebola and is thought to control the virus’ entry into human cells.

This peptide mimic can be used as a target to identify new drug treatments to control the Ebola virus, according to the investigators.

“The use of peptide mimics as drug targets played a key role in the development of treatments for HIV, and we believe this approach can be applied to the treatment of Ebola,” pointed out Dr. Kay, who added that the team relied on a peptide synthesizer from Tucson-based Protein Technologies to carry out the research. “The Prelude system enabled us to quickly design and optimize the synthesis of the peptide mimics of the ebolavirus N-trimer,” he said.

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