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Scientists Testing SARS Drug

May 12, 2003

At a news conference in Hong Kong Sunday, pioneering AIDS researcher Dr. David Ho said he is collaborating with scientists in China to develop a drug to control severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The scientists are testing a synthetic protein inhibitor, or peptide, that aims to block the SARS virus from penetrating human cells. The approach used by Ho, of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center at Rockefeller University in New York, and scientists from the University of Hong Kong is adapted from a drug used to fight HIV. Microbiologist Malik Peiris of the University of Hong Kong said some signatures in the SARS virus are similar to HIV. Ho said the peptide proved successful in preventing the SARS virus from entering cultured cells in initial tests, but more work is needed before a drug can be made available commercially.

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Excerpted from:
Washington Post
05.12.03; Reuters

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