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By targeting flu-enabling protein, antibody may protect against wide-ranging strains


The study, which Scripps Research conducted jointly with Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, points to a new approach to tackle severe cases of the flu, including pandemics. Scripps Research's Ian Wilson, DPhil, one of three senior co-authors say the antibody at the centre of the study binds to a protein called neuraminidase, which is essential for the flu virus to replicate in the body.

The protein, located on the surface of the virus, enables infected host cells to release the virus so it can spread to other cells. Tamiflu, the most widely used drug for severe flu infection, works by inactivating neuraminidase. However, many forms of neuraminidase exist, depending on the flu strain, and such drugs aren't always effective -- particularly as resistance to the drugs is developing

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