A Synthetic Protein Found to be of Help Against Influenza
Researchers from San Diego State University and the University of Nebraska Medical Center have found in a mice model that a synthetic protein, called as EP67, helps in fighting influenza caused by influenza virus strain H1N1 by activating the immune system, if given to the mice within 24 hours of introduction to the virus.
“The flu virus is very sneaky and actively keeps the immune system from detecting it for a few days until you are getting symptoms,” Joy Phillips, lead author of the study, said. “Our research showed that by introducing EP67 into the body within 24 hours of exposure to the flu virus caused the immune system to react almost immediately to the threat, well before your body normally would.”
Researchers have found that mice, when exposed to flu, lose only six percen of their body weight on average after treating with the protein while the mice not treated with protein lose 20 percent of their body weight, when exposed to flu. They have also found that the mice didn’t die after getting the lethal dose of influenza, if treated with the protein.
"EP67 can protect from a lethal dose of influenza even when treatment is delayed for a full day after the time of infection," said Phillips. "This protection is not limited to a single strain of influenza, as is the case for the vaccine, but should protect against all strains of influenza A or influenza B."
According to Phillips, this protein could be of help against many of the diseases such as avian H5N1 influenza.Researchers have reported, “Since protection based on innate immune induction is not restricted to any specific pathogen, EP67 may well prove equally efficacious against a wide variety of possible viral, bacterial, and fungal pathogens. Such a strategy could be used to stop the worldwide spread of emergent respiratory diseases, including but not limited to novel strains of influenza.”
This research has been done on mice with one strain of influenza, so further researches can be done on other species and with different strains of pathogens. This research has been published online in the journal PLoS ONE.
Image: Influenza A virus, Image Credit: SDSU Electron Microscope Facility