Deep Stuff "Until now, scientists had not noticed the code, which had been hidden in plain sight in the sequence of the ribonucleic acid (RNA) that makes up this type of viral genome."
'But a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of
Sciences (PNAS) Early Edition by a group from the University of Leeds
and University of York unlocks its meaning and demonstrates that jamming
the code can disrupt virus assembly. Stopping a virus assembling can
stop it functioning and therefore prevent disease.
'Professor Peter Stockley, Professor of Biological Chemistry in the University of Leeds’Faculty of Biological Sciences,
who led the study, said: “If you think of this as molecular warfare,
these are the encrypted signals that allow a virus to deploy itself
'“Now, for this whole class of viruses, we have found the ‘Enigma
machine’—the coding system that was hiding these signals from us. We
have shown that not only can we read these messages but we can jam them
and stop the virus’ deployment.”
'Single-stranded RNA viruses are the simplest type of virus and were
probably one of the earliest to evolve. However, they are still among
the most potent and damaging of infectious pathogens.
'Rhinovirus (which causes the common cold) accounts for more
infections every year than all other infectious agents put together
(about 1 billion cases), while emergent infections such as chikungunya
and tick-borne encephalitis are from the same ancient family.
'Other single-stranded RNA viruses include the hepatitis C virus, HIV and the winter vomiting bug norovirus.'