Australian research team discovers a novel viral treatment
Researchers have discovered a new way of treating viral diseases including HIV, dengue, rhinovirus and influenza, the last of which infects five million people annually with a death rate as high as 10 per cent. An international collaboration led by RMIT University in Australia has identified a protein, Nox2 oxidase that is activated by viruses in a biological process that dates back 1.5 billion years, affecting plants and fungi as well as mammals. This protein suppresses natural antiviral reactions, allowing the virus to take stronger hold in the host body. Current treatment strategies are limited, as they specifically target circulating viruses and have either unknown or very little effect against new viruses that enter the human population. This work by researchers identifies a treatment strategy that has the potential to alleviate the symptoms caused by some of the most devastating viruses worldwide, including the flu. The team is pursuing further research to aid development of novel drugs for further trials. The strength of this work is the multidisciplinary approach taken and the degree of collaboration. It includes researchers and clinicians from eight universities across Australia, the United States and Ireland.