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Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

Where Science Meets Society

Combating antiviral drug resistance with dynamic therapeutics

Antiviral drug resistance has long been a problem in modern society. As viruses evolve, they develop resistance to antiviral drugs, which become less effective at treating diseases such as influenza.

Now, a group of researchers is approaching this problem with a new idea: what if antiviral drugs could evolve along with viruses to stop this resistance?

Study adds to evidence that viruses are alive

A new analysis supports the hypothesis that viruses are living entities that share a long evolutionary history with cells, researchers report. The study offers the first reliable method for tracing viral evolution back to a time when neither viruses nor cells existed in the forms recognized today, the researchers say.

The new findings appear in the journal Science Advances.

Microbes Scared to Death by Virus Presence

The microbes could surrender to the harmless virus, but instead freeze in place, dormant, waiting for their potential predator to go away, according to a recent study in mBio.

University of Illinois researchers found that Sulfolobus islandicus can go dormant, ceasing to grow and reproduce, in order to protect themselves from infection by Sulfolobus spindle-shaped virus 9 (SSV9). The dormant microbes are able to recover if the virus goes away within 24 to 48 hours—otherwise they die.

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