Nav: Home

Fighting mutant influenza

October 24, 2018

Another flu season is here, which means another chance for viruses to mutate. Already, most influenza A viruses contain a mutation that confers resistance against one class of antiviral medications, and the bugs are steadily gaining resistance against another class. Scientists report in ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters a series of experiments designed to develop new medications that could potentially fight off the resistant and sensitive types of influenza A.

For most people, the flu is a nuisance, causing aches and pains, as well as coughs and runny noses for a few weeks. But for the elderly and young children, the illness can be deadly. And in the most recent flu season, even some seemingly healthy adults died after being infected. Because the virus can mutate, it has built up resistance against some drugs that had been used to help fight the infection. Influenza A is responsible for most cases of the flu, and about 95 percent of influenza A viruses have a mutation called S31N in the channel protein AM2. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved antivirals called adamantanes target that protein, but are no longer recommended because the S31N mutation renders these drugs useless. The other FDA-approved class of antiviral medications includes oseltamivir. Although these drugs are still effective, resistance is growing with the rise of a mutation in a different viral protein. That's why Jun Wang and colleagues sought to develop a new medication that would work in both resistant strains and those that still respond to oseltamivir.

The key, Wang's team realized, was to target the AM2 protein with the S31N mutation, since it is found in almost all influenza A viruses. Using a step-wise process, the researchers identified one sulfur-containing inhibitor of AM2 S31N that was stable under conditions that mimic human metabolism. They then spun that discovery into a series of similar sulfur-bearing molecules, eventually identifying two compounds with even better antiviral properties than oseltamivir, fighting off drug-resistant and drug-sensitive strains. In addition, the researchers note that the two compounds have optimal in vitro pharmacokinetic properties, making them well-suited for the next step of in vivo studies in mice.
-end-
The authors acknowledge startup funding from the University of Arizona and funding from the National Institutes of Health.

The abstract that accompanies this study is available here.

The American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, is a not-for-profit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS is a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

To automatically receive news releases from the American Chemical Society, contact newsroom@acs.org.

Follow us on Twitter | Facebook

American Chemical Society

Related Influenza Articles:

How proteins help influenza A bind and slice its way to cells
Researchers have provided new insight on how two proteins help influenza A virus particles fight their way to human cells.
Eating elderberries can help minimize influenza symptoms
Conducted by Professor Fariba Deghani, Dr. Golnoosh Torabian and Dr.
Mechanism to form influenza A virus discovered
A new study by Maria João Amorim's team, from the Gulbenkian Institute of Science, now reveals where the genomes of the influenza A virus are assembled inside infected cells.
Bat influenza viruses could infect humans
Bats don't only carry the deadly Ebola virus, but are also a reservoir for a new type of influenza virus.
New VaxArray publication on influenza neuraminidase quantification
InDevR Inc. announced publication of 'A Neuraminidase Potency Assay for Quantitative Assessment of Neuraminidase in Influenza Vaccines' in npj Vaccines.
Fighting mutant influenza
Another flu season is here, which means another chance for viruses to mutate.
Influenza vaccine delays are a problem for pediatricians
Uptake of influenza vaccine among children is low compared to other childhood vaccines, and missed opportunities for vaccination play an important role in this low uptake.
For a better influenza vaccine, focus on the neglected 'N'
In the April 5, 2018, issue of the journal Cell, researchers push for greater emphasis on the neglected viral-surface influenza protein neuraminidase.
Previous influenza virus exposures enhance susceptibility in another influenza pandemic
New data analysis suggests that people born at the time of the 1957 H2N2 or Asian Flu pandemic were at a higher risk of dying during the 2009 H1N1 Swine Flu pandemic as well as the resurgent H1N1 outbreak in 2013-2014.
Annual influenza vaccination does not prevent natural immunity
Earlier studies have suggested that having repeated annual influenza vaccination can prevent natural immunity to the virus, and potentially increase the susceptibility to influenza illness in the event of a pandemic, or when the vaccine does not 'match' the virus circulating in the community.
More Influenza News and Influenza Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Risk
Why do we revere risk-takers, even when their actions terrify us? Why are some better at taking risks than others? This hour, TED speakers explore the alluring, dangerous, and calculated sides of risk. Guests include professional rock climber Alex Honnold, economist Mariana Mazzucato, psychology researcher Kashfia Rahman, structural engineer and bridge designer Ian Firth, and risk intelligence expert Dylan Evans.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#541 Wayfinding
These days when we want to know where we are or how to get where we want to go, most of us will pull out a smart phone with a built-in GPS and map app. Some of us old timers might still use an old school paper map from time to time. But we didn't always used to lean so heavily on maps and technology, and in some remote places of the world some people still navigate and wayfind their way without the aid of these tools... and in some cases do better without them. This week, host Rachelle Saunders...
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dolly Parton's America: Neon Moss
Today on Radiolab, we're bringing you the fourth episode of Jad's special series, Dolly Parton's America. In this episode, Jad goes back up the mountain to visit Dolly's actual Tennessee mountain home, where she tells stories about her first trips out of the holler. Back on the mountaintop, standing under the rain by the Little Pigeon River, the trip triggers memories of Jad's first visit to his father's childhood home, and opens the gateway to dizzying stories of music and migration. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.