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Research Snapshot: A detailed look at HTLV-1, the retrovirus that causes T-cell Leukemia

It is generally believed that virus particles need to be fully formed to transmit a virus. But a recent study by researchers in the Academic Health Center’s Institute for Molecular Virology (IMV) shows this may not be the case.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Research snapshot: No two kinds of retroviruses look – or act – the same

In the most comprehensive study of its kind, researchers in the Institute for Molecular Virology and School of Dentistry at the University of Minnesota report that most types of retroviruses have distinct, non-identical virus structures.

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Research snapshot: UMN study identifies mechanism in drug target that helps block HIV’s ability to spread

University of Minnesota researchers have identified the mechanism of a potential HIV drug target, which could be more cost-effective than currently used HIV drugs.

The study expanded upon previous UMN research, which identified that the nucleoside 5-azacytidine (5-aza-C) blocked HIV’s ability to spread. 5-aza-C triggers lethal mutagenesis, a process in which HIV mutations speed up to a point that the HIV essentially wears itself out.

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Research Snapshot: A better understanding of t-cell leukemia virus

The particles of the human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1), a human retrovirus closely related to HIV, are known to be non-infectious. They don’t cause much damage alone. But when those particles invade other cells, the virus becomes highly infectious, and can cause leukemia. About 5 percent of people with HTLV-1 will develop adult t-cell leukemia.

University of Minnesota researchers recently captured 3-D images of HTLV-1 through advanced electron imaging, a technology that enabled them to study the virus particles in more detail than ever before. Their finding, recently published in The Journal of Virology, could provide insight into why some particles are more infectious than others.

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New anti-HIV drug target identified by University of Minnesota researchers

University of Minnesota researchers have discovered a first-of-its-kind series of compounds possessing anti-human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) activity. The compounds present a new target for potential HIV drug development and future treatment options.

Complete findings are printed in today’s issue of The Journal of Virology.

The compounds, known as ribonucleoside analogs 8-azaadenosine, formycin A, 3-deazauridine, 5-fluorocytidine and 2’-C-methylcytidine, were found to stop the replication and spread of HIV by blocking HIV DNA synthesis or by inducing lethal mutagenesis.

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How to detect a virus

Today on Health Talk, we’re talking virus detection: how scientists come to suspect a new virus and the steps they take to develop a test to confirm their suspicions.

Developing the first test for a new virus is a laborious process, one with which University of Minnesota assistant scientists Sunny Sonnabend and Lindsey Raymond in the U of M’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory are intimately familiar. These two scientists are part of the U of M College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) team behind the nation’s first porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) rapid detection test, unveiled earlier this year.

Here’s what it takes to develop a test like no other:

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