The Australian National University is very excited by work at the John Curtin School of Medical Research finding new uses for old drugs in the search for better anti-virals.
The paper on their findings, Coexistence of two adamantane binding sites in the influenza A M2 ion channel, is published in the latest issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
“This discovery gives us the starting point for the design of a new generation of drug which might lead to new anti-virals,” said Dr Casarotto. “It’s a significant step forward in combating influenza.”
The researchers looked at older-style flu drugs which target the M2 protein. These drugs are no longer used because mutations have developed in most flu strains, leading to drug resistance and rendering this class of drugs useless. However, researchers around the world have been debating how and why these drugs used to work, with two rival camps offering very different theories on exactly how the drugs work.
Dr Casarotto and Mr Rosenberg have now settled that debate, and this means that groups around the world can move forward, leading to the possibility of new drugs.