Scientists at Purdue University in the United States have developed a new treatment for viral infections such as influenza that may also be effective against other pathogens, including HIV and the pandemic SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
This is reported in an article published in the journal Nature Communications, and the study is summarized in a press release on EurekAlert.
Researchers have developed targeted antiviral drugs that target infected cells and do not harm healthy ones. To do this, they synthesized a molecule by combining zanamivir, an inhibitor of the viral enzyme neuraminidase, with dinitrophenyl, which specifically acts on the surface of free viruses and virus-infected cells. It turned out that the molecule simultaneously suppresses the release of viruses from the cell and eliminates both the viruses themselves and the infected cells.
It has been shown that intranasal or intraperitoneal administration of a single dose of the drug to mice infected with the virus eliminates common representative strains of influenza A and B viruses. According to scientists, these results may be applicable to other viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, hepatitis B and respiratory syncytial virus.
On average, more than two million people are hospitalized with the flu in the United States every year, and between 30,000 and 80,000 of them die from illness or related complications.