Novel therapeutic agent for Tamiflu-resistant pH1N1 influenza virus discovered

In 2009 the influenza pH1N1 virus caused the first flu pandemic in the 21st century. The virus reached Finland in May 2009 and killed more than 50 people in the country. Since 2011 the pH1N1 virus infects Finns mainly during flu epidemics (winter/spring seasons).

Infections with influenza pH1N1 virus vary from asymptomatic to serious complicated illnesses. World Health Organization has recommended Tamiflu for treatment of patients with severe or progressive illness. The disadvantage of this drug is that it targets viral proteins which mutate quickly and the virus develops resistance to it.

The Medical Systems Virology group at FIMM, together with collaborators has recently sequenced genomes of 135 pH1N1 influenza strains isolated from Finnish patients in 2009-2013 and found one Tamiflu-resistant strain from the 2012-2013 epidemic season. The study was published in the Genome Announcements journal and is now available online.

This finding suggests that there could be more resistant strains in upcoming seasons. Therefore, there is a need for the development of new antiviral agents against pH1N1, says Dr. Triin Lakspere.

In another study published this week the group investigated pH1N1 virus-host cell interaction in detail and found that certain host function could be temporally inhibited with small molecule MK2206 to block in cell culture.

Importantly, the virus was unable to acquire resistance to host-directed MK2206 in contrast to virus-directed Tamiflu. This small molecule is in clinical trials against cancer and has high specificity and good pharmacological properties, which could warrant its further development as antiviral drug for treatment of pH1N1 virus infection, Dr. Oxana Denisova says.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Preparing for Tamiflu-resistant influenza viruses

Dec 09, 2013

Researchers in Umeå and Uppsala have found that residues of the influenza drug Tamiflu in our environment can make the influenza virus in birds resistant. This can have serious consequences in the event ...

Recommended for you

Restrictions lifted at British bird flu farm

7 hours ago

Britain on Sunday lifted all restrictions at a duck farm in northern England after last month's outbreak of H5N8 bird flu, the same strain seen in recent cases across Europe.

Recorded Ebola deaths top 7,000

Dec 20, 2014

The worst Ebola outbreak on record has now killed more than 7,000 people, with many of the latest deaths reported in Sierra Leone, the World Health Organization said as United Nations Secretary-General Ban ...

Liberia holds Senate vote amid Ebola fears (Update)

Dec 20, 2014

Health workers manned polling stations across Liberia on Saturday as voters cast their ballots in a twice-delayed Senate election that has been criticized for its potential to spread the deadly Ebola disease.

Evidence-based recs issued for systemic care in psoriasis

Dec 19, 2014

(HealthDay)—For appropriately selected patients with psoriasis, combining biologics with other systemic treatments, including phototherapy, oral medications, or other biologic, may result in greater efficacy ...

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.