Hong Kong scientists found a new method that can effectively suppress influenza virus by using virus genes and proteins, according to the University of Hong Kong (HKU) which made the results public on Friday.
The presently available antiviral drugs are not that effective for treating influenza and resistance can develop rapidly, according to HKU.
Researchers from the microbiology department of HKU has designed short detective fragments of relatively conserved influenza virus genes (DIG3), which can interfere with the correct replication of the influenza virus genome and hence inhibit the growth of influenza virus.
The team then designed a new gene delivery system called TAT-P1, which can deliver the DIG3 into the host cells and exert antiviral activity.
When administered to the airway of laboratory mice one to two days before, or six hours after infection with an avian influenza virus or a 2009 pandemic influenza H1N1 virus, DIG3/TAT-P1 can improve survival and decrease the amount of influenza virus in the lung of mice. This shows that DIG3/TAT-P1 is effective for both prevention and treatment.
The finding is published in a leading scientific journal Nature Communications.