Washington, Dec 18 (ANI): A naturally occurring human protein that helps prevent infection by H1N1 influenza and other viruses, including West Nile and dengue virus, has been identified.
A research team led by Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator Stephen J. Elledge and his colleague, Abraham Brass, discovered that human cells respond to infection by the H1N1 influenza virus by ramping up production of proteins that have unexpectedly powerful antiviral effects.
In cultured human cells, those proteins, whose functions were previously unknown, block the replication of H1N1 influenza virus, West Nile virus, and dengue virus.
The unexpected discovery, reported December 17, 2009, in an early online article in the journal Cell, could lead to the development of more effective antiviral drugs, including prophylactic drugs that could be used to slow influenza transmission. (ANI)