A broad new idea for treat­ing vi­ral in­fec­tions: blow­ing up their pro­tec­tive mem­branes

Chemists are ze­ro­ing in on a new an­tivi­ral strat­e­gy that they hope could be de­ployed against a wide va­ri­ety of pathogens. The ex­per­i­men­tal drugs blow up the fat­ty mem­branes that pro­tect many virus­es, in­clud­ing ones that cause Covid-19 and the flu, leav­ing them vul­ner­a­ble and un­able to sneak in­to cells.

Be­cause those mem­branes don’t seem to be sub­ject to the same de­gree of evo­lu­tion­ary pres­sure as vi­ral pro­teins — the typ­i­cal tar­get of an­tivi­ral drugs — sci­en­tists are hope­ful that the chance of de­vel­op­ing re­sis­tance to the treat­ments will be low.

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