Washington: Researchers have claimed to have discovered that influenza has an Achilles' heel.
The study reveals that a drug that inhibits a molecule called prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) increases survival rates in mice infected with a lethal dose of the H1N1 flu virus.
Senior study author Maziar Divangahi of McGill University, said drugs that specifically target PGE2 pathways have already been developed and tested in animals, so their results have excellent potential for clinical translation, not only for the treatment of influenza , but also other viral respiratory infections that interact with similar host immune pathways.
In the new study, Divangahi and his team found that mice genetically engineered to lack PGE2 showed enhanced immune responses, lower viral levels in the lungs, and better survival rates following infection with a lethal dose of the H1N1 flu virus compared with infected mice that were not genetically modified.
Similarly, mice treated with a compound that inhibits PGE2 showed enhanced antiviral immunity and survival rates following infection with a lethal dose of the flu virus compared with untreated mice.
The study has been published by journal Cell Press.