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Project Highlight

Publications for the general public by ANTIVIRALS Early Stage Researchers

  • ESR-1 Heyrhyoung Lyoo: Short article on EP-Nuffic Neso Korea website ( and their annual magazine “Life and Study” (
  • ESR-2 Lisa Bauer : Article for South Tirol newspaper Algunder Magazini
  • ESR-3 Kristina Kovacikova: Pan European Networks, quarterly issue for Science and Technology Title: Antiviral Education. A 2-page article about the educational aims of the ANTIVIRALS training network, with a special focus on the progress that has been made so far and the collaborations between the industrial and academic partners.
  • ESR-4 Natacha Ogando: A blog article entitled “This is not a bacterium: some common misunderstandings about viruses” in collaboration with the association Native Scientist (
  • ESR-6 Anna Płaszczyca : Publication in ISAR News about the 31st ICAR
  • ESR-8 Birgit Zonsics: An interview with Birgit Zonsics about her passion for science
  • ESR-7 Roberto Manganaro, ESR-8 Birgit Zonsics, ESR-10 Nhungh The Tuyet Le, ESR-12 Marion Francisco, ESR-13 Angelica Corcuera, ESR-14 Haridian Montañez Brull : Special issue of the ISAR News, the newsletter of the International Society for Antiviral Research. The issue informed the readers about the training, research and dissemination programme of the ANTIVIRALS European Training Network.

ANTIVIRALS Blog presents great reading about viruses!

Project Highlight: Successful cross-disciplinary collaboration yields new chikungunya antiviral hits

Birgit, a PhD student at Cardiff University (UK), has succeeded in modelling 26 inhibitors of chikungunya virus using computational methods for predicting best candidate drugs.

Chikungunya fever is a mosquito-borne tropical disease that can lead to abrupt fever and long-lasting joint pain. Because there are currently no licensed antiviral drugs against this disease on the market, the search for new chikungunya inhibitors is of great medical importance.

In order to discover new chikungunya antivirals, Birgit performed so called virtual screening of a compound collection called SPECS. In her approach, these compounds were used to target one of the viral proteins while paying close attention to the most important features of its already known binding partner. As she described, this process of ‘match-making’ between the candidate drug and the viral protein can take up to 6 months, especially given the tricky nature of the protein.

To test the 26 newly designed inhibitors for biological activity, Birgit is collaborating with virologists at the Rega Institute, KU Leuven (Belgium). As a result of this partnership, 4 initial hits were identified in cell-based assays. In the future, she hopes to join one of the partners in the ANTIVIRALS consortium to better understand the biological mechanism and applications of her compounds.

25 July 2016 – written by Kristina Kovacikova

Birgit at work