Possible New Tactic in Fight Against Influenza

Source:  Possible New Tactic in Fight Against Influenza    Tag:  punnett square for fragile x syndrome


Influenza is one of the most common viruses to affect humans. Some people think of the flu as nothing more than an inconvenience that becomes a possibility when the weather starts to turn-however, there are other, more sinister strains of flu than the seasonal flu, and to the elderly, the very young, people with certain diseases, and the immune impaired, even the seasonal flu can mean anything from an lengthy, expensive hospital stay, to complications such as pneumonia, to a death sentence.
There are three main types of flu virus-Influenza A, B, and C. Influenza B and C only affect humans, are usually mild, and don't cause epidemics. Influenza A can cross between species, and has many subtypes, denoted by H and N proteins. Bird flu, swine flu, and seasonal flu are all A subtypes. Swine flu, seasonal flu, and Influenza B are usually included in annual flu vaccines. A subtypes are the biggest threat to humans, and now, scientists at the University of Texas at Austin have figured out a secret to their reproduction and a possible key to slowing it down. Human cells produce a protein called DDX21, which blocks reproduction of the A subtypes by binding to the virus's PB1 protein, which the virus needs to replicate. Unfortunately, the virus also makes a protein called NS1 to bind to and block the DDX21 protein. The NS1 protein also proves to be integral to several other functions of the virus. Professor Robert Krug believes that developing an anti-viral drug that attacks the NS1 protein could be a key to fighting the flu, which causes somewhere between 3 and 49 thousand deaths in the US each year. A subtypes of Influenza have a habit of forming resistances to anti-viral drugs, but all we can do is try to stay ahead of it each season to prevent as many deaths as possible.

(Secondary article:  http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/viruses/types.htm )