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UI Health Researchers Are Unlocking the Potential to Prevent Viral Reinfections

UIC researchers in white lab coats working in their laboratory

A team of researchers at the University of Illinois College of Medicine have published a new study of herpes reinfections of the eye, identifying a key protein that could be targeted by antiviral drugs to prevent viral reinfection. They examined how heparanase, a protein that is present in all cells, affected reinfection from the herpes simplex virus type 1 in mice and found that inhibiting heparanase activity can protect the eyes from being reinfected. While more research is needed to understand effective inhibition of heparanase, the findings indicate that blocking the protein could be a promising drug target. Deepak Shukla, the Marion Schenk Esq. Professor of Aging Eye Research and corresponding author of the study, thinks that they may be looking at a potential broad-spectrum antiviral drug that could become a sort of “wonder drug”.