Influenza Inhibitors

Life Sciences : Therapeutics

Available for licensing

Inventors

  • Robert Krug, Ph.D. , Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
  • Gaetano Montelione, Ph.D. , Rutgers University

Background/unmet need

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that up to 20% of Americans contract influenza each year during flu season. Although most recover, it is estimated that 100,000 of those afflicted, have to be hospitalized, and about 36,000 people die from the virus each year in the United States alone. Furthermore, influenza has recently emerged as a bioterrorist weapon. Currently, vaccines are employed to treat influenza, but they are of little use against a fast moving pandemic since vaccines can take as long as six months to develop after the onset of a new influenza strain. Clearly, it is absolutely necessary to devise methods to control epidemics and pandemics of influenza.

Invention Description

This technology provides an approach to inhibit the influenza virus and its corresponding RNA targets. Key sites have been identified on the 3-D structure of the virus that are essential to its viability. If these sites are mutated or inhibited in some way, the effects and life of the virus can be eradicated. Particular assays have been employed to identify inhibitors of the interactions between the virus and its RNA targets, which can then be utilized to develop antiviral drugs to treat influenza.

Benefits/Advantages

  • Antivirals can be employed rapidly against an epidemic
  • Antivirals that are developed would be specific and effective
  • 3D identification of NS1A flu protein structure

Features

  • Provides for a broad system influenza antiviral
  • Identifies flu protein atoms that are crucial to its viability and for binding target RNA
  • Developed assay suitable for high throughput screening

Market potential/applications

This technology can be used in applications to further the development of antiviral drugs that treat influenza.

IP Status

  • 1 U.S. patent application filed

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