By continuing to use the site you agree to our Privacy & Cookies policy

Your browser seems to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser.


Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.


New flu drug shows promise

A new class of anti-influenza drugs could prove a potent weapon against resistant strains of the virus, early research suggests.

The drugs works to block the mechanism the virus uses to spread between cells.

In laboratory tests – some involving mice – it proved effective against a wide variety of strains, including those resistant to existing drugs such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu).

To spread inside the body, the flu virus uses two “entry” and “exit” proteins. One, haemagglutinin, helps it enter and infect a cell. The other, neuraminidase, allows replicated viruses to break out of the cell and move on to the next target.

The new class of drugs sabotages neuraminidase and stops it functioning. As a result the virus becomes “stuck” and unable to continue down the path of infection.

Professor Steve Withers, from the University of British Columbia, who led the research, said: “Our agent latches onto this enzyme like a broken key stuck in a lock, rendering it useless.

“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.

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

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment.

Related Jobs

Sign in to see the latest jobs relevant to you!