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IU Professor’s Discovery May Lead To Hepatitis B Cure

A reconstructed image of the hepatitis B capsid from data by IU's cryo-electron microscope.

Photo: Indiana University

A reconstructed image of the hepatitis B shell from data by IU's cryo-electron microscope.

A set of anti-viral molecules an Indiana University biochemist has identified could lead to a cure for hepatitis B.

The anti-viral technology IU Professor Adam  Zlotnick works with focuses on how viruses like hepatitis B are able to put themselves together.

By looking closely at the virus’s structure, Zlotnick was able to figure out how to interfere with the viruses ability to reproduce. He says the process uses molecules known as Core Protein Allosteric Modulators.

“What we’re finding is that a small molecule can act like a molecular wedge,” Zlotnick says.

And that keeps the virus from forming and spreading.

Zlotnick says the next step is development of a drug and clinical trials.

He worked with colleagues at the company Assembly Biosciences to identify the molecule.

He says he and his team are studying Hepatitis B because of its major impact on public health. It affects over 350 million people worldwide.

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