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The Boston Globe

Science

Dana-Farber researcher blocks MERS virus in experiment

The severe respiratory virus called MERS only recently arrived on American shores, carried here by two travelers from the Middle East. But for two years, researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have been studying the virus, and they recently discovered a way to combat the deadly pathogen by blocking its ability to enter and infect cells.

Dr. Wayne Marasco, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber who led the research, will travel to Qatar this weekend to present to an array of government and public health officials his new leads — including the identification of a molecule that can neutralize a key fragment of the virus. So far, his work has only been done in laboratory dishes, but he plans to begin testing in animals.

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