Researchers from the University of Wisconsin have identified a novel antiviral peptide that may inhibit influenza viruses including the H5N1 strain. They report their findings in the December 2006 issue of the Journal of Virology.
Influenza A viruses are associated with approximately 31,000 annual deaths in the U.S. alone and currently pose a serious health threat throughout many parts of the world. Yearly vaccinations are the primary method of protection, however antiviral therapy plays an important role in treatment and transmission control. Although two classes of antiviral drugs are currently available, the H5NI strain has demonstrated resistance in recent testing.
In the study researchers tested the newly identified peptide, EB (entry blocker), for antiviral activity against influenza viruses including the H5N1 strain in mice. Results showed the peptide capable of inhibiting viral attachment to the cellular receptor ultimately preventing infection.
“This novel peptide has potential value as a reagent to study virus attachment and as a future therapeutic,” say the researchers.