Aus­tralian re­search team dis­cov­ers a novel vi­ral treat­ment

BioSpectrum (Asia) - - Science News -

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.

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