Scientists at Edinburgh University have discovered a new generation of small peptides (6-12mers) that they say have potent in vitro and in vivo activity against influenza A viruses. The peptides are capable of preventing and potentially treating influenza infection in vivo.
The peptides are active against H1, H3 and H5 influenza strains in the 0.1 to 0.001uM range and are effective in a mouse model of influenza virus infection when administered at very low doses (< 1 ug/ mouse).
They work by blocking influenza entry to cells, thus acting in a different way from currently available therapies, and opening up the possibility that these peptides could be used for combination therapy with established therapeutics.
This mode of action also means it is less likely the virus will acquire resistance to the peptides, as the virus cannot into the host cells to replicate and accumulate mutations that will enable it to evade the inhibitor.
There is potential for local delivery to the lung, which may make the peptide safer and easier to dose.
There is in vivo and in vitro data showing the efficacy of the peptide and evidence of a mechanism of action, and a patent was filed in 2010.
Edinburgh University is looking to license this technology or work jointly with an industrial partner to develop it further.
For more information, visit the project’s page at: http://www.university-technology.com/details/peptide-based-therapy-of-influenza-virus-infection