The grant will fund Lakshman’s research aimed at developing a new methodology to synthesize benzotriazole and related nucleoside mimics. Azoles and related compounds have shown activity ranging from anti-microbial to anti-viral. Lakshman’s hope his research will result in new treatment options for viral diseases like HIV, human papillomavirus (HPV), and herpes. Lakshman explains, “Existing viral diseases, as well as newly emerging viral diseases, demand the development of novel agents to combat them.”
Aiding in Lakshman’s project is the Rega Institute for Medical Research based in Belgium. Dr. Jan Balzarini of the Rega Institute has agreed to test the effectiveness of these new compounds against an array of viruses. Barring any major setbacks, Lakshman expects the first set of compounds to be available for testing by the beginning of 2012.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases grant, which began August 1, 2011, awards Lakshman $405,380 over the next two years.