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Flu Cure Found! Pandemic Threat Ended: New Breakthrough Drug Stops Virus Spread Dead In Its Tracks, Works On Lethal Drug Resistant Strains

Sunday, February 24, 2013 22:50
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The days of using the flu as your favorite sickie excuse could be over.

A new class of influenza drug has been shown effective against drug-resistant strains of the flu virus, according to a study led by University of British Columbia researchers. Published online in the journal Science Express, the study details the development of a new drug candidate that prevents the flu virus from spreading from one cell to the next. The drug is shown to successfully treat mice with lethal strains of the flu virus.

The breakthrough drug is the result of a global collaboration between scientists from CSIRO, the University of British Columbia and the University of Bath. CSIRO scientists helped to design the new drug to protect against epidemic and pandemic flu strains.

The new drug has stopped the spread of virus strains in their tracks in laboratory testing – even those resistant strains of the virus!

 
In order to spread in the body, the flu virus (blue) first uses a protein, called hemagglutinin, to bind to the receptors (green) on a healthy cell (red).
In order to spread in the body, the flu virus (blue) first uses a protein, called hemagglutinin, to bind to the receptors (green) on a healthy cell (red).
Credit: CSIRO/Magipics
 
Once the flu virus has inserted its DNA into the healthy cell and replicated, it would remain stuck to the cell via its hemagglutinin if it were not for the neuraminidase enzyme, which severs the connection to the infected cell’s receptors.
Once the flu virus has inserted its DNA into the healthy cell and replicated, it would remain stuck to the cell via its hemagglutinin if it were not for the neuraminidase enzyme, which severs the connection to the infected cell’s receptors.
Credit: CSIRO/Magipics

In order to spread in the body, the flu virus first uses a protein, called hemagglutinin, to bind to the healthy cell’s receptors. Once it has inserted its RNA and replicated, the virus uses an enzyme, called neuraminidase, to sever the connection and move on to the next healthy cell.

 
Current flu treatments work to inhibit the neuraminidase so the flu virus cannot move on to the next healthy cell.
Current flu treatments work to inhibit the neuraminidase so the flu virus cannot move on to the next healthy cell.
Credit: CSIRO/Magipics

“Our drug agent uses the same approach as current flu treatments – by preventing neuraminidase from cutting its ties with the infected cell,” says UBC Chemistry Prof. Steve Withers, the study’s senior author. “But our agent latches onto this enzyme like a broken key, stuck in a lock, rendering it useless.”

 

This is done through binding drug molecules into the neuraminidase, like a key into a lock, blocking it from its normal role.

Credit: CSIRO/Magipics
The virus remains bound to the infected cell.

Credit: CSIRO/Magipics

The immune system clears away the trapped flu viruses.

Credit: CSIRO/Magipics
 
Life Cycle: This figure shows the life cycle of the flu virus and how the new flu drug agent prevents the virus from spreading from cell to cell by irreversibly inhibiting the action of the neuraminidase like a broken key stuck in a lock.

 Credit: Tom Wennekes, UBC

 
The World Health Organization estimates that influenza affects three to five million people globally each year, causing 250,000 to 500,000 deaths. In some pandemic years, the figure rose to millions.

“One of the major challenges of the current flu treatments is that new strains of the flu virus are becoming resistant, leaving us vulnerable to the next pandemic,” says Withers, whose team includes researchers from Canada, the UK, and Australia.

“By taking advantage of the virus’s own ‘molecular machinery’ to attach itself,” Withers adds. “The new drug could remain effective longer, since resistant virus strains cannot arise without destroying their own mechanism for infection.”

NB: An animation and step-by-step cartoon of the new drug’s mechanism are available at 

 

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Total 4 comments
  • Arctic

    So this wonder drug is going to be tested with US citizens next time WHO gives a pandemic alert?

  • Iteration

    If this is a cure… then there is no chance it will ever see the light of day, because they will never be able to make a dime off of it. They dont want to cure stuff they just want to treat them instead, which will keep you sick and needing more treatment.

  • Authentica

    Cure for the flu is nutritious fresh foods, clean water, sunshine, pure air, physical activity & a balanced peaceful mind. Whether you get the flu in the first place depends on your internal environment & level of vital functioning. Viruses & bugs will always mutate in response to any drugs they can develop, just like weeds will always win against pesticide use – so it’s a losing battle IMO. The only sure way to avoid getting sick, or at least vastly reduce the likelihood & severity is to take responsibility for your own well-being & physical shape.

  • iAmNotaSheep

    So they invent it, and made an antidote to TRY and scare people? Or just the mesia does that?

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