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3D motion of common cold virus offers hope for improved drugs

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Melbourne researchers are now simulating in 3D, the motion of the complete human rhinovirus, the most frequent cause of the common cold, on Australia’s fastest supercomputer, paving the way for new drug development.

Rhinovirus infection is linked to about 70 per cent of all asthma exacerbations with more than 50 per cent of these patients requiring hospitalization. Furthermore, over 35 per cent of patients with acute chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are hospitalised each year due to respiratory viruses including rhinovirus.

A new antiviral drug to treat rhinovirus infections is being developed by Melbourne company Biota Holdings Ltd, targeted for those with these existing conditions where the common cold is a serious threat to their health and could prove fatal.

A team of researchers led by Professor Michael Parker from St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research (SVI) and the University of Melbourne is now using information on how the new drug works to create a 3D simulation of the complete rhinovirus using Australia’s fastest supercomputer.

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