facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Protein changes on virus change strain

Feb. 24, 2013 at 10:50 PM   |   Comments

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- The influenza virus continually undergoes slight modifications to the proteins covering its surface, causing the new strains, a Canadian researcher says.

Chemistry Professor Andrew Bennet of the Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, said such small changes mean that every year a slightly different strain of influenza circulates through the human population, requiring a new vaccine.

In addition, the virus will swap one of its surface proteins with that from a bird-infective influenza strain -- the H5N1 bird flu, for example -- which has over the past century resulted in three major pandemics.

H5N1 strains are currently not effectively transmitted between humans. Inhibition of one of the viral surface proteins called neuraminidase -- the 'N' in H5N1 -- which catalyzes the release of newly formed virus particles from the infected cells, has proven to be a suitable approach in the design of anti-viral drugs.

Bennet and researchers are working to learn more about how the influenza enzyme works, by using imaging technology similar to magnetic resonance imaging to "tag" atoms in a sugar molecule that the virus removes during its replication cycle.

"Scanning the atoms within this sugar molecule provides the necessary information to guide the design of drug candidate molecules," Bennet said in a statement.

Bennet discussed the research on Cafe Scientifique on the CBC.

Topics: Simon Fraser
© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Most Popular
1
CDC: painkiller overdose deaths still rising, but not as fast CDC: painkiller overdose deaths still rising, but not as fast
2
Male pattern baldness a sign of prostate cancer risk Male pattern baldness a sign of prostate cancer risk
3
Schizophrenia is actually eight disorders, not one disease Schizophrenia is actually eight disorders, not one disease
4
Study: too many kids taking antibiotics Study: too many kids taking antibiotics
5
Morning exercise helps calm ADHD symptoms in children Morning exercise helps calm ADHD symptoms in children
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback