Small changes in the structure of the anti-viral compound called pleconaril could lead to effective treatment against infections caused by various strains of the virus, the researchers suggested.

Although EV-D68 has emerged as a considerable global public health threat, there is no available vaccine or effective anti-viral treatment.

"The ongoing research could lead to the development of drugs that inhibit infections caused by the most recent strains of the virus," said Michael Rossmann, professor of biological sciences at the Purdue University in US.

The researchers used a technique called X-ray crystallography to learn the precise structure of the original strain of EV-D68 on its own and when bound to the anti-viral compound pleconaril.

A molecule called the 'pocket factor' is located within the virus's protective shell, called the capsid.

When the virus binds to a human cell, the pocket factor is squeezed out, resulting in the destabilization of the virus particle.

The virus then disintegrates and releases its genetic material to infect the cell and to replicate itself. Pleconaril also binds into the pocket, inhibiting infection, the findings showed.

The study appeared in the journal Science.

Latest News from Lifestyle News Desk