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Princeton Innovation: Inhibitors of hepatitis B and E virus infection

December 27, 2019


Our lab studies hepatitis B and E viruses
which cause about 300 million infections worldwide and kill almost
a million people annually. Neither one has a cure. We have developed new screening systems
to identify new drugs to cure these viruses. Both hepatitis B and E viruses affect the liver
but they are very different viruses. Hepatitis B virus is transmitted through the blood
and other bodily fluids. It enters liver cells where it hides in the nucleus. We tried to find drugs that can kill this virus
without causing harm to the patient Hepatitis E virus infects people through
contaminated pork meat and water and stays within the cell body. We tried to find molecules that can stop the virus
from making copies of its genome. Our screening systems are faster and safer
than existing platforms. Our systems are high-throughput meaning that we can screen millions of compounds within
a short period of time. We modified both viruses so they are safe
and robust for screening. The screening system closely mimics the situation
in patients with chronic hepatitis infections. With these screens we hope to provide cures for viruses
that cause serious global health problems.

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