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SLU researchers find smallpox drug could target common cold

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By Julie Bierach, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – Scientists at St. Louis University are reporting two key discoveries that could lead to the first-ever human testing of a drug to target a virus that causes the common cold.

Adenoviruses cause ear infections and bladder infections and can cause death in organ transplant patients.

Although most people recover, adenovirus infections can become serious and sometimes deadly in young children and people with weakened immune systems.

There are no drugs approved to treat adenovirus infections because there has been no animal model in which to test drug candidates. But now researchers at SLU say they've not only found a suitable animal model in Syrian hamsters, but they've also discovered that a drug called CMX001 successfully attacks the adenovirus in the hamsters.

The drug is under development as a biodefense agent against the threat of smallpox or monkey pox viruses.

Using the animal model, SLU researchers found that the drug provided protection from the virus when administered both before and after infection.

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