Navigation Links
Compound found to safely counter deadly bird flu

MADISON The specter of a drug-resistant form of the deadly H5N1 avian influenza is a nightmare to keep public health officials awake at night.

Now, however, a study published this week (Dec. 21) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) suggests that a new compound, one on the threshold of final testing in humans, may be more potent and safer for treating "bird flu" than the antiviral drug best known by the trade name Tamiflu.

Known as T-705, the compound even works several days after infection, according to Yoshihiro Kawaoka, a University of Wisconsin-Madison virologist and the senior author of the new PNAS study.

"H5N1 virus is so pathogenic even Tamiflu doesn't protect all the infected animals," explains Kawaoka, a professor of pathobiological sciences at the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine and a world authority on influenza. "This compound works much better, even three days after infection."

The Wisconsin research was conducted in mice and demonstrated that the compound was effective and safe against H5N1 virus, the highly pathogenic bird flu virus, which some scientists fear could spark a global epidemic of deadly influenza. The compound is also effective against seasonal flu and more worrisome varieties such as the H1N1 virus, and has already been tested against circulating seasonal influenza in humans in Japan where it is on the brink of Phase III clinical trials in people.

The prospect of a new front-line drug for influenza, in particular highly pathogenic strains such as H5N1 virus, is important as there are few drugs capable of checking the shifty influenza virus. The new study showing the efficacy and safety of T-705 assumes more importance as instances of Tamiflu-resistant strains of H5N1 virus have recently been reported, raising concerns about the ability of current antiviral drugs to blunt a pandemic of deadly avian flu.

Antiviral drugs are viewed as a readily available first line of defense against pandemic flu and are especially important for protecting health workers and others during an outbreak of disease. Vaccines, which utilize inactivated or weakened viruses to confer immunity, are the primary line of defense for influenza, but require months to formulate and mass-produce.

Aside from its safety and basic efficacy, another key trait of the T-705 compound is the fact that it is effective even after an infection is acquired. Bird flu, notes Kawaoka, is almost always diagnosed in the hospital after symptoms of the disease manifest themselves: "This compound has a chance to save people who have gone into the disease course," he says.

T-705 targets a critical viral molecule, polymerase, an enzyme that enables the virus to copy its genetic material, RNA. By disabling polymerase, the virus is unable to make new virus particles and maintain the chain of infection. Tamiflu, which remains an effective drug for blocking influenza virus, targets and regulates the enzyme neuraminidase, a protein found on the surface of the flu virus particle and that is essential for spreading the virus throughout the respiratory system.

"The activity of this agent is considerably higher than Tamiflu," says Kawaoka, adding, "the compound is very specific to viral polymerase. It doesn't affect host polymerase, which is important for safety and reducing side effects."


Contact: Yoshihiro Kawaoka
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Related biology news :

1. Biogen Idecs oral compound BG-12 achieves development milestones in MS and RA
2. Anticancer compound found in American mayapple
3. Boron-based compounds trick a biomedical protein
4. Natural compounds, chemotherapeutic drugs may become partners in cancer therapy
5. Marine biomedicine researchers decode structure of promising sea compound
6. Natural compound stops retinopathy
7. Researchers describe implausible chemistry that produces herbicidal compound
8. MSU discoveries upend traditional thinking about how plants make certain compounds
9. UNC study: Scientists identify chemical compound that may stop deadly brain tumors
10. Compounds could be new class of cancer drugs
11. Grape-seed extract kills laboratory leukemia cells, proving value of natural compounds
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/16/2015)... 2015  Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: SYNA ), ... announced expansion of its TDDI product portfolio with ... and display driver integration (TDDI) solutions designed to ... TDDI products add to the previously-announced TD4300 ... resolution), and TD4322 (FHD resolution) solutions. All four ...
(Date:11/12/2015)...   Growing need for low-cost, easy to ... paving the way for use of biochemical sensors ... in clinical, agricultural, environmental, food and defense applications. ... medical applications, however, their adoption is increasing in ... emphasis on improving product quality and growing need ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... YORK , Nov. 10, 2015 ... to behavioral biometrics that helps to identify and ... fraud. Signature is considered as the secure and ... the identification of a particular individual because each ... more accurate results especially when dynamic signature of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... are paramount. Insertion points for in-line sensors can represent a weak spot where ... InTrac 781/784 series of retractable sensor housings , which are designed to tolerate ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Creation Technologies would ... named to Deloitte's 2015 Technology Fast 500 list of the fastest growing companies ... FDA-cleared, Class II medical device that speeds up orthodontic tooth movement by as ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... -- Capricor Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: CAPR ... and commercialization of first-in-class therapeutics, today announced that ... to present at the 2015 Piper Jaffray Healthcare Conference ... The Lotte New York Palace Hotel in ... --> . --> ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015  PDL BioPharma, Inc. (PDL) (NASDAQ: PDLI ... company,s president and chief executive officer, will present at the ... in New York City . The presentation ... 1, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. EST. ... website at least 15 minutes prior to the presentation to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: