Is a research institute that is located at the University of Heidelberg and that focuses its research activities on hepatitis viruses and RNA viruses, especially flaviviruses such as Dengue virus and Zika virus and on coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2. Another focus is innate antiviral immunity. As part of the faculties for Medicine and BioSciences, the research division Molecular Virology participates in training of medical students in the field of virology and is also involved in lectures, seminars and practical training for students in biosciences.
The creation of the department has been made possible by the Chica und Heinz Schaller Stiftung. This institution financed the position of the department head for the first 10 years and in addition provided a start-up support to help setting up the department.
- Approval of Hepcludex (Zulassung des in der Abteilung Molekulare Virologie Heidelberg entwickelten Medikaments Hepcludex zur Behandlung der Hepatitis D Virus Infektion)
The first drug to treat hepatitis delta has recently been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
The drug is called Hepcludex/bulevirtide, formerly known as Myrcludex B. Hepcludex and has been developed by Prof. Stephan Urban at the research division Molecular Virology in Heidelberg. The drug inhibits the entry of Hepatitis D Virus (HDV) and Hepatitis B Virus into liver cells by blocking the viral receptor. Hepcludex has received provisional approval after very favorable data from two phase 2 clinical trials. This approval makes the drug available to patients suffering from chronic hepatitis D.
It took almost 20 years, starting from the first experiments that aimed at studying virus entry into cells, then realizing the therapeutic potential of using gained knowledge to develop an entry inhibitor until final approval. The drug had been licensed to MYR Pharmaceuticals, which has recently been acquired by Gilead Sciences.
- Gilead Sciences - Press Release
- University Hospital Heidelberg - Press Release: US-Branchenriese Gilead sichert sich Hepcludex
- Cortese, Mirko et. al. (2020): Integrative Imaging Reveals SARS-CoV-2-Induced Reshaping of Subcellular Morphologies. Cell Host & Microbe
- Neufeldt, Christopher et. al. (2019): ER-shaping atlastin proteins act as central hubs to promote flavivirus replication and virion assembly. Nature Microbiology.
- Seitz, Stefan et. al. (2017): Deciphering the origin and evolution of hepatitis B viruses by means of a family of non-enveloped fish viruses. Cell Host & Microbe.
- Wissenschaftlicher Projektmanager / wissenschaftlicher Referent (m/w/d) in the Research Group of Stephan Urban.