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PLoS One. 2011 Mar 1;6(3):e16874. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016874.

Synthetic protocells interact with viral nanomachinery and inactivate pathogenic human virus.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, New York, United States of America.


We present a new antiviral strategy and research tool that could be applied to a wide range of enveloped viruses that infect human beings via membrane fusion. We test this strategy on two emerging zoonotic henipaviruses that cause fatal encephalitis in humans, Nipah (NiV) and Hendra (HeV) viruses. In the new approach, artificial cell-like particles (protocells) presenting membrane receptors in a biomimetic manner were developed and found to attract and inactivate henipavirus envelope glycoprotein pseudovirus particles, preventing infection. The protocells do not accumulate virus during the inactivation process. The use of protocells that interact with, but do not accumulate, viruses may provide significant advantages over current antiviral drugs, and this general approach may have wide potential for antiviral development.

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