Treating MERS-CoV with a combination of interferon-alpha 2b and ribavirin may prove effective, according to study results published online in the journal Nature Medicine.
The combination of interferon-alpha 2b and ribavirin increased the transcription of genes that fight viral infections, and reduced transcription of genes that promote inflammation.
Of particular interest to investigators was that it increased the transcription of genes that assist in regulating the so-called “sonic hedgehog” protein, which helps moderate the immune response so that it targets the virus more precisely. This reduces collateral damage from broader, less-discriminate attacks, and helps stimulate repair and growth of lung tissue.
Researchers believe the findings mean other drugs with similar abilities to modulate the body’s reaction to viral infections may also prove to be effective against MERS-CoV and other infectious agents.