TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) have discovered a potential topical therapeutic agent for the treatment of monkeypox through biomolecular research and testing. The research follows years of studying the structure of viruses such as Zika, dengue, herpes, coronaviruses, and hepatitis. Past research and experience on the interaction between viral proteins and polysaccharides, including existing drugs, has helped researchers quickly discover this potential treatment.

The work is in its early stages—however, researchers believe that since the drugs used in the work are FDA-approved, there will be a fast track to clinical trials and potential approval as a therapy for monkeypox. This timely study was published in the scientific journal, Molecules, recently.

“Over the past three years, viral diseases have gained new urgency and focus on research and development with COVID-19, raising the profile of the power and complexity of viruses,” said Fumin Zhang, a senior fellow at the Shirley Ann Jackson Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Research (CBIS). “For years, researchers at RPI studied the structure of viruses and the interaction of different virus proteins with their human cellular targets. This experience led us to the discovery of this potential topical treatment.”

Dr. Zhang was joined in this work by Robert Linhardt, recently retired Constellation Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, and Jonathan Dordik, a professor in the Institute of Chemical and Biological Engineering.

“RPI’s extensive research capabilities are changing and impacting the world around us,” said Deepak Vashisht, director of CBIS. “This discovery demonstrates RPI’s role as one of the world’s leading research universities and the value and power of basic research at the intersection of science and technology in finding solutions that impact society.”