Pain reliever naproxen shows anti-viral activity against flu

The over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug naproxen may also exhibit antiviral activity against influenza A virus, according to a team of French scientists. The finding, the result of a structure-based investigation, is published online ahead of print in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

New must be developed annually, because the they target mutate rapidly, the way cars used to get a whole new look every year. The researchers, led by Anny Slama-Schwok of the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Jouy en Josas, France, found a much more stable, reliable target for anti-. The so-called ribonucleoprotein complexes are necessary for replication, and the researchers realized they could target the nucleoprotein, preventing assembly of the complexes. Because of its vital function, the nucleoprotein is highly conserved, making it a good potential target for .

The nucleoprotein's three dimensional structure, solved in 2006, provided the basis for searching for new drugs that could interfere with its action. The researchers did a virtual screening within the Sigma-Aldrich online catalog of biochemicals. That screening identified Naproxen, better known as the over-the-counter pain reliever Aleve, and as expected, it bound to the nucleoprotein, and impeded RNA binding, says Slama-Schwok. In further testing, it reduced the viral load in cells infected with H1N1 and H3N2 , and in mice it demonstrated a therapeutic index against influenza A that was superior to that of any other anti-inflammatory drug.

Specifically, naproxen blocks the RNA binding groove of the nucleoprotein, preventing formation of the ribonucleoprotein complex, thus taking the vital nucleoproteins out of circulation. The researchers write that naproxen is a lead compound for drug development that could be improved by tweaking the molecule to boost its ability to bind to nucleoprotein.

As an already approved drug, naproxen could become a treatment against influenza relatively quickly, the researchers write. Its status as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), which inhibits the COX-2 pathway, as well as an antiviral would boost its efficacy.

More information: N. Lejal, B. Tarus, E. Bouguyon, S. Chenavas, N. Bertho, B. Delmas, R.W.H. Ruigrok, C. Di Primo, A. Slama-Schwok, 2013. Structure-based discovery of the novel antibviral properties of Naproxen against the nucleoprotein of influenza A virus. Antim. Agents Chemother. Online ahead of print 4 March 2013 ,doi:10.1128/AAC.02335-12

Formal publication of the article is scheduled for the May 2013 issue of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

Related Stories

Fatty acids could lead to flu drug

Mar 07, 2013

Flu viruses are a major cause of death and sickness around the world, and antiviral drugs currently do not protect the most seriously ill patients. A study published March 7th by Cell Press in the journal Cell reveals that a ...

Lipid blocks influenza infection

Nov 09, 2011

A natural lipid in the fluid lining the lungs inhibits influenza infections in both cell cultures and mouse models, according to researchers at National Jewish Health. These findings, combined with previous studies demonstrating ...

Recommended for you

Express Scripts turns to AbbVie in huge hepatitis C deal

15 hours ago

The nation's largest pharmacy benefits manager is throwing its weight into the fight over high-cost hepatitis C drugs with a coverage restriction that might ultimately lower prices and improve patient access ...

FDA OKs Cubist antibiotic for serious infections

Dec 20, 2014

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new medicine to fight complex infections in the abdomen and urinary tract, the fourth antibiotic the agency has approved since May.

Xtoro approved for swimmer's ear

Dec 18, 2014

(HealthDay)—Xtoro (finafloxacin otic suspension) eardrops have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat swimmer's ear, clinically known as acute otitis externa.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.