The herpes simplex virus (HSV) causes cold sores and genital lesions and with the exception of acyclovir (an inhibitor of the viral DNA polymerase), there are currently no drug treatments available. Two papers in April Nature Medicine report helicase-primase inhibitors as a new class of orally available drugs active against HSV.

James Crute and colleagues from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals found potent selective thiazolylphenyl-containing inhibitors of the HSV helicase-primase enzyme. Inhibition of the enzymatic activities was through stabilization of the interaction between the helicase-primase and DNA substrates, preventing the progression through helicase or primase catalytic cycles. One compound — BILS 179 BS — was orally active and more effective than acyclovir against HSV infections in a murine model (Nat Med 2002, 8:386-391).

In a second paper, Gerald Kleymann and colleagues from Bayer AG, also reported a distinct, but structurally related inhibitor of the HSV helicase-primase with potent in...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?