Public Health officials have long warned about pandemic pathogens flying fast around the world. One virus already spreads across the globe annually leading to often debilitating infections and even death. However, scientists now have reported a possible therapeutic that can eradicate the virus of influenza.
Every year the flu virus gets smarter and changes its own structure—as a result scientists have to formulate new vaccines that target the most common flying strains. While being vaccinated is the most important protections against the virus, it does not always guarantee not being targeted. Current influenza treating drugs can be effective only when given at the early stages of infection—for example, the therapeutic ‘oseltaminvir’. However, there has been reports of viruses that resist to certain influenza drug treatments like the therapeutic ‘baloxavir’.
Now, researchers have examined a compound named N-hydroxycytidine (NHC) and known for a long time to inhibit RNA viruses like those in the flu. They tweaked NHC to another compound referred to as EIDD-2801 that will convert back to NHC inside the body. The experiment was observed to be promising in ferrets—which are common animal’s models for the influenza.
Science: The flu virus (above) has frustrated scientists with its constant shapeshifting, eluding many vaccines and drugs. JAMES CAVALLINI/SCIENCE SOURCE
“It’s important that they showed a reduction in symptoms in ferrets because it gets much closer to predicting what happens in people,” says Andrew Pavia, an infectious disease expert at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. “It’s a major step towards developing a drug for humans.”
Findings were reported in Science Translational Medicine.