ATLANTA, Ga. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Last year, 34,000 people died of the flu. This year’s flu season isn’t over, but it is on course to be one of the worst in a decade. Add to that the fears surrounding the deadly coronavirus, which are keeping infectious disease specialists on high alert. Now, a team of scientists has found a new drug that may stop influenza and coronavirus in their tracks.
The sneezing … the coughing … and the body aches.
“I couldn’t move, and I had a high fever of over a hundred and that stayed the same for three days,” Robert Cox, PhD, post-doctoral researcher at Georgia State University, said.
Cox knows first-hand how miserable the flu can be. Now he works on a Georgia State University research team testing a next-generation drug against the flu called EIDD 2801. The drug works by targeting an enzyme needed to replicate the flu virus in the body.
Cox told Ivanhoe, “It looks so much like a regular nucleotide to the virus that it can’t find a way to distinguish between it and other ones.”
Allowing the drug to sneak pass the virus and stop it from replicating.
“So, it stops the application process so the virus cannot produce new genomes that then can be packaged into new viral particles,” Richard Plemper, PhD, professor at Georgia State University.
Some antiviral drugs currently available on the market, such as Tamiflu, have been found to be ineffective against some strains of the influenza virus. But with tests on ferrets, this new drug proves to be effective against all strains.
“Even after extensive adaptation to our compound, we could not identify any resistance mutations,” Plemper said.
And this drug may even be fast-tracked to combat the coronavirus, which has surpassed 1500 deaths so far.
“Colleagues of ours testing the same drug against coronavirus have actually shown this good activity,” Plemper explained.
Plemper says human trials for this drug could start as early as Summer 2020. Just before the next flu season.
Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer and Editor.
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TOPIC: CORONAVIRUS AND THE FLU: NEW DRUG MAY BE MEDICINE’S NEXT BIG THING?
REPORT: MB #4704
BACKGROUND: The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the throat, nose, and sometimes lungs. Causing mild to severe illness, it can even at times lead to death. Currently the best way to prevent catching the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year. Symptoms can vary based on severity of the illness, but it is different from a cold. Often the flu comes on suddenly, and patients may feel chills, have a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, fatigue, and occasionally vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults.) People with the flu are most contagious in the first three to four days after their illness begins. Some healthy adults may be able to infect others starting one day before symptoms hit and up to five to seven days after becoming sick. Onset of symptoms can range from one to four days after exposure. Preventative actions can be taken such as the annual flu vaccine, frequent hand washing, staying away from people who are sick, and covering coughs and sneezes. If you believe it to be the flu, your personal medical provider can do a simple flu test, with results in as fast as 10 minutes to determine if you do have it.
CORONAVIRUS: Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold up to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. A novel coronavirus is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. These viruses are zoonotic, transmitted between animals and people. Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. More severe cases may cause pneumonia, kidney failure, and even death. Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing, also thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Also, avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of a respiratory illness. (Source: https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus)
NEW ANTIVIRAL DRUG: Each yeah researchers work to anticipate the change in strains of the influenza, since it’s ever adapting to combat and resist vaccinations. Now they are studying a new antiviral drug that in short disguises itself so the virus does not recognize it, finds the virus and blocks it to such a degree that it cannot continue to grow and emerge. It has been tested in animal models and cell culture models, and now with coronaviruses moving to the forefront, it was expedited for testing for a coronavirus animal model and it was efficacious with the data seen so far. The primary objective is to prevent the progression of these severe respiratory infections, because they lead to bronchitis and viral pneumonia, which is very quickly life threatening in older adults. If animal models continue to see these positive results, it can be expected that clinical and safety trials in humans will begin before flu season of 2020.
(Source: Richard Plemper, PhD)
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