Researchers Discover New H5N1 Inhibitors

HONG KONG - Researchers from Hong Kong and Canada found a new inhibitor against H5N1 avian flu virus by using a new technology platform, according to the University of Hong Kong which made the results public on Wednesday.
calendar icon 16 April 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

The university's faculty of medicine and the Genome Sciences Center of the British Columbia Cancer Agency, Canada, made use of computational molecular docking in a recent collaborative research and screened about 230,000 compounds. Twenty of them were found to be potential anti-H5N1 virus candidates.

Of the 20 compounds tested, "compound-1" demonstrated the ability to inhibit neuraminidase, thus the replication of the virus at a level comparable to oseltamivir, an effective drug currently used to combat influenza.

Professor of the university's Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine Allan Lau Sik-yin said, neuraminidase was an agent capable of enabling the virus to spread to normal host cells.

However, current drugs such as oseltamivir, which could inhibit neuraminidase, would become totally non-effective one day if the virus developed strong resistance towards the drugs.

According to Professor Lau, the study revealed that "compound-1" was able to bind to the neuraminidase of the virus and it may overcome the drug resistance introduced by mutation of the virus.

"Researchers will enhance the binding to reduce the chance of the occurrence of drug resistance," Professor Lau said, adding that it would take about five to eight years for the new drug to be resulted.

Besides, Professor Lau says that by using computational analysis, the cost of this study had largely gone down and about two years of time have been saved, when compared with traditional research methods involving real-life demonstrations.

Further Reading

- You can visit the Avian Flu page by clicking here.
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