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MSU Researchers Develop Power New Tool To Fight Flu

EAST LANSING (WWJ)  – An international research team from Michigan State University has developed a new protein that they say has the potential to combat deadly flu epidemics.

It is arguably among the biggest challenges for health care professionals. Keeping up with potentially pandemic influenza viruses — like the Spanish or Swine flu — that mutate each year.

But now, in a lab at Michigan State University, they’re working on a new way to fight the flu no matter what the strain.

“There was a region on the flu virus that doesn’t change that was identified. And what we have been able to do is computationally design proteins that target this Achilles’ Heal of the virus,” said Tim Whitehead, an assistant professor of chemical engineering at MSU.

Whitehead said the protein breaks down too quickly to be used as a preventative vaccine. However, he said it carries tremendous potential as a possible future therapeutic treatment for flu.

Whitehead said the same research also laid the groundwork for future treatments other diseases such as smallpox.

The research was funded by Defense Research Projects Agency, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

More at this link.

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