Cracking the code of a deadly virus

Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV) is an unforgiving killer of horses, donkeys and zebras, resulting in mortality as high as 80 percent of infected animals. It causes rapid, catastrophic swelling of the brain and spinal cord, leading to severe neurological symptoms and—in many cases—sudden death. The virus can also infect humans, with similar results. Now a research team has exploited a weakness in VEEV’s genetic code, resulting in a far less deadly mutant version of the virus when …

Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV) is an unforgiving killer of horses, donkeys and zebras, resulting in mortality as high as 80 percent of infected animals. It causes rapid, catastrophic swelling of the brain and spinal cord, leading to severe neurological symptoms and—in many cases—sudden death. The virus can also infect humans, with similar results. Now a research team has exploited a weakness in VEEV’s genetic code, resulting in a far less deadly mutant version of the virus when …