asher63 (asher63) wrote,

Broadly immunizing antibodies and anti-virus drugs.

Via starshipcat.

In the case of the flu virus, broadly neutralizing antibodies have been discovered, and these tend to bind to the virus' hemagglutinin protein (the H in the flu's HA nomenclature). This protein becomes important after a flu virus attaches to a cell and is brought inside. The hemagglutinin senses this change of conditions and undergoes a rearrangement that allows the virus' genetic material to enter the cell. Broadly neutralizing antibodies blocks this process, essentially trapping the virus' genetic material where it ends up being harmlessly digested. Typically, they'll block all the viruses that have one of the two classes of the hemagglutinin protein—a huge range of viruses. ...

The researchers—an enormous partnership among academic labs and Johnson & Johnson—figured out an extremely clever test for drug activity. They started with hemagglutinin and stuck the simplified, small version of the antibody to it. Then the researchers threw a library of about a half-million small molecules at the hemagglutinin, one at a time, and they searched for the small molecules that would cause the aforementioned simplified, small version of the antibody to fall off the hemagglutinin. This should only happen if the small molecule binds even better and thus has a good chance of blocking the virus even more effectively. ...

To test whether it works, the authors turned to an extreme and somewhat contrived situation: they started giving the mice the drug. A day later, the researchers hit the mice with a lot of the flu virus—25 times the dose that would normally kill half of them. With the drug, however, all of the rodents lived.
Tags: science

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