Potential treatment for drug-resistant H7N9 influenza virus comes closer to reality
A new research is showing promise in helping to fight novel drug-resistant H7N9 influenza virus, which has caused more than 130 human infections with 43 deaths in China.
The study by Juergen Richt from Kansas State University is working with scientists at Hemispherx Biopharma Inc. to develop novel pharmacological treatments.
Richt is recognized as an expert on zoonotic agents and has published extensively on the monitoring of mutations and basic events leading to cross-species transmission of influenza viruses and the opportunities to adapt to human hosts, with the potential to cause a pandemic.
Because of the lack of existing immunity against H7 subtype influenza viruses in the human population and the absence of a licensed commercial vaccine, antiviral drugs are critical tools for the treatment of human infections with this novel H7N9.
"Both M2-ion channel blockers, such as amantadine, and neuraminidase inhibitors, such as Tamiflu or Relenza, are used as antiviral drugs for influenza infections of humans," Richt said. "The emerging H7N9 viruses are resistant to the M2-ion channel blockers and some also to neuramidinidase inhibitors because of mutations in the respective viral proteins."
The researcher said that in this study they report that Alferon N can inhibit wild type and Tamiflu-resistant H7N9 virus replication in vitro. Since Alferon N is approved for clinical use, this would allow a rapid regulatory approval process for this drug under pandemic threat.
The study is published in Expert Review of Anti-infective Therapy journal.
(Posted on 17-01-2014)