This article was originally published in Start Up
VLST is developing a platform around the identification and understanding of the function of virulence factors, a set of proteins in viruses that down regulate the host's immune response, thereby conferring a survival advantage. Understanding this evolutionary process can lead to the identification of a group of clinically relevant cellular targets, as the predicate for the development of therapeutics.
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Researchers are finding new ways to disable bacteria, either by increasing their sensitivity to existing drugs or decreasing their virulence. Targeting bacterial functions that have a significant effect on growth in an infected host but are not thought of as "antimicrobial" may represent an important new drug development strategy. A group recently reported encouraging, if very early, results about the ability of an inhibitor of virulence factor biosynthesis to control tuberculosis infection.
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