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Molecular virologist fights influenza at the molecular level

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  • Molecular virologist fights influenza at the molecular level

    Molecular virologist Chad Petit, Ph.D., uses basic science to fight influenza—through experiments at the atomic level.
    This includes a deadly poultry influenza virus in China called the H7N9 avian flu virus. Since 2013, H7N9 has infected 1,625 people, killing 623. While not highly contagious for humans, just three mutations could change that, turning H7N9 into the feared Disease X, the term health experts use for the next unknown cause of a worldwide epidemic.
    In research to improve influenza therapies against H7N9 and other influenza strains, Petit and his University of Alabama at Birmingham colleagues have detailed the binding site and mechanism of inhibition for two small-molecule experimental inhibitors of influenza viruses. Their report is published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
    The two experimental inhibitors studied by Petit, a UAB assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics, are small molecules whose precise mechanism of action was unknown. The inhibitors target the function of a key influenza protein called NS1, which has multiple roles to block the body's immune response during influenza infection. Thus, NS1 is essential to the survival and adaptability of the influenza virus.

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    https://phys.org/news/2018-11-molecu...influenza.html

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