Drug target to boost body's natural flu killer identified

Washington, May 24 (ANI): A known difficulty in fighting influenza (flu) is the ability of the flu viruses to mutate and thus evade various medications that were previously found to be effective.

Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have shown recently that another, more promising, approach is to focus on improving drugs that boost the body's natural flu killer system.

Emergence of new influenza strains, such as the recent avian influenza (H5N1) and swine influenza (H1N1 2009), can lead to the emergence of severe pandemics that pose a major threat to the entire world population.

Recently, the concern regarding the emergence of such a pandemic arose when a new and deadly avian influenza strain (H7N9) was discovered in China, causing the death of six people in only one month.

The body's immune system can fight influenza infection. Natural killer (NK) cells, which are an essential component of this system, can recognize and eliminate influenza-virus-infected cells and inhibit the spread of the virus in the respiratory system.

But, as Ph.D. student Yotam Bar-On and Ofer Mandelboim, the Dr. Edward Crown Professor of General and Tumor Immunology at the Institute for Medical Research Israel Canada (IMRIC) of the Hebrew University Faculty of Medicine, have revealed that the influenza virus is able to escape from the NK cells activity, allowing it to spread in the respiratory system.

They showed that this is accomplished by the influenza virus utilizing the enzymatic activity of the neuraminidase protein to neutralize the NK cells' receptors that are responsible for detecting the influenza-virus-infected cells.

This, in effect, neutralizes the NK cells' ability to accomplish their designated flu-killing duty.

With the aid of the neuraminidase protein, the influenza virus is free to exit from the infected cell, enabling it to infect new neighbor cells and spread in the respiratory system.

Anti-flu drugs were developed to inhibit this spread of the virus by inhibiting the neuraminidase enzymatic activity.

But, as with other, earlier anti-influenza drugs, the flu viruses are able to gain the upper hand.

The extensive use of neuraminidase inhibitors has caused the emergence of new, drug-resistant influenza strains.

Bar-On and Mandelboim have shown that this type of widely used drug has the effect of boosting the activity of the NK cells, enabling them to better eliminate the influenza virus.

They stressed, therefore, that efforts should be focused on developing effective new drugs that would maintain and enhance this NK cell activity, thereby leading to more effective elimination of the influenza virus and better recovery from flu infection without the susceptibly to the changes in the neuraminidase protein structure currently brought about by mutating flu viruses. (ANI)

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

Pietersen to miss Delhi's first game

Pietersen to miss Delhi's first game

The former England batsman will have to lead the franchise as he is out of the match against Bangalore with a finger injury. More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The Preview — Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders More »

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

He was aggrieved by the allegations against him during the hearing. More »

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Michael Klinger has revealed he felt compelled to leave South Australia after being told he would be only a fringe part of the Redbacks' plans for next season, and disputed the suggestion that he left… More »

India: cricket's Brazil

India: cricket's Brazil

They are tough to beat with a big talent base exposed to good facilities. (CYCSPL) More »

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Franchises are doing their bit to refurbish the image of the tainted league. More »

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

The revival of Indo-Pak Test ties could take place in UAE. More »

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

'This time around we will hope to go few more steps ahead and actually get that trophy' More »

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Apart from the foreign players a lot of behind-the-scene activity has taken place in selecting the Indian domestic players. More »

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Leading Spanish club Atletico Madrid and former cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly are among the owners of eight franchises of a new Indian… More »

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

Kiwi all-rounder wants to utilise the India leg to explore the country’s tourist attractions. More »

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Says his mother made him change his mind. More »