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Compound found to safely counter deadly bird flu
Date:12/21/2009

le 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."


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Contact: Yoshihiro Kawaoka
kawaokay@svm.vetmed.wisc.edu
608-265-4925
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Source:Eurekalert

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