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Compound Kills Highly Contagious Flu Strain by Activating Antiviral Protein

A compound tested by UT Southwestern Medical Center investigators destroys several viruses, including the deadly Spanish flu that killed an estimated 30 million people in the worldwide pandemic of 1918.

This lead compound -- which acts by increasing the levels of a human antiviral protein -- could potentially be developed into a new drug to combat the flu, a virus that tends to mutate into strains resistant to anti-influenza drugs.

"The virus is 'smart' enough to bypass inhibitors or vaccines sometimes. Therefore, there is a need for alternative strategies. Current drugs act on the virus, but here we are uplifting a host/human antiviral response at the cellular level," said Dr. Beatriz Fontoura, associate professor of cell biology and senior author of the study available online in Nature Chemical Biology.


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