LABORATORY OF ANTIVIRAL DRUGS DISCOVERY
Hovakim Zakaryan, PhD
Phone: +374 91 318-036
FAX: +374 10 282-061
The Research Group of Antiviral Defense Mechanisms was established in 2016. The main focus of our research group is the discovery
of novel molecules and antiviral strategies against African swine fever virus (ASFV) for which no effective vaccines are available. We perform testing
for antiviral efficacy in vitro using microscopic CPE assay, virus yield reduction assay and virucidal assay. For the most perspective antivirals, we
investigate the mechanism of action using different approaches.
Our group is also interested in understanding the biology of interferon type III, as well as in indetification of non-toxic compounds inducing interferon-stimulated genes as potent antiviral effectors.
Current research projects:
Comparison of in vitro antiviral activity of flavones against African swine fever virus and structure-activity analysis.
Recently we found that apigenin chemically known as 4′, 5, 7,-trihydroxyflavone has significant anti-ASFV activity, reducing the viral yield of approximately 1000-fold during in vitro infection (Hakobyan et al., submitted). Apigenin is a non-toxic dietary flavone abundantly found in parsley, basil, celery, chamomile and other plants. Natural flavones also include luteolin, tangeritin, chrysin, 6-hydroxyflavone, baicalein, scutellarein and some other compounds. Thus, further screening of these compounds may reveal new antivirals and structural motifs associated with anti-ASFV activity.
Screening of rigid amphipatic fusion inhibitors (RAFIs) against African swine fever virus.
Our collaborators from Shemyakin-Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry (Russia) described a family of compounds that inhibit virus infectivity through targeting virion envelope lipids and preventing the fusion of cellular and viral membranes. We are screening 15 different RAFIs in order to identify effective antivirals targeting ASFV entry to the host cell. This project is supported by research grant (15RF-081) from State Committee of Science.
Development of colorimetric assay for high-throughput screening of inhibitors against African swine fever virus.
Currently available in vitro assay systems evaluating compounds associated with anti-ASFV activity are tedious and time consuming to perform. Our group will develop a quantitative colorimetric assay adapted to a microtiter plate format for determination of ASFV susceptibility to antiviral compounds. This assay will allow us to rapidly perform large-scale screening programs for anti-ASFV agents using a microtiter ELISA reader.
Selected Publications:>> Full publications list of IMB