Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Computers To Be Used To Find Blueprint For New Influenza Drug

Date:
February 21, 2005
Source:
University Of Bath
Summary:
Researchers at the University of Bath have won a 261,000 grant to use the latest software to produce a blueprint of a designer drug that could stop influenza and some other diseases from replicating in humans.

An example of a model created using computational chemistry tools.
Credit: Image courtesy of University Of Bath

Researchers at the University of Bath have won a 261,000 grant to use the latest software to produce a blueprint of a designer drug that could stop influenza and some other diseases from replicating in humans.

Related Articles


The announcement of the grant comes at a time when fears are rising that an influenza outbreak developing from Asian chickens could kill thousands of people.

Professor Ian Williams, of the Department of Chemistry, will begin work in April on a project that could help pharmaceutical companies develop a better drug that could be taken by people coming down with flu to stop the disease developing.

The drug would work by being chemically very similar to part of the protective coating around the cells in our throats that the flu virus first attacks when a person becomes infected. The flu virus would be deceived into attacking the drug, called an inhibitor, instead of the cells.

The three-year project will be largely carried out by examining the behaviour of atoms of the influenza virus which attack cells, and atoms of the throat cells that are attacked. By using advanced software to model the way these atoms behave in highly complex interactions, the atomic structure of a suitable drug can be worked out.

Using computer modelling in this way can be of great assistance in drug design. Normally drugs are produced by trial and error in a process that can take many years.

Professor Williams and his colleague Dr Gus Ruggiero will use part of the grant from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council to buy computers with a combined power many times that of the most advanced desktop machines.

This will be the first time the software, developed in Germany, will have been used in Britain. It will allow accurate modelling of the behaviour of tens of thousands of atoms, many times more sophisticated than previous work.

“Developing a blueprint for a new way of fighting influenza is a very important task," said Professor Williams.

“We often think of flu as just a nasty illness which puts us in bed for a few days. But some outbreaks can cause death on a large scale – the world-wide outbreak in 1918 killed more people than the First World War itself. We may now be facing another flu outbreak, this time originating from chickens in Asia.

“If we are successful, we will have taken important steps in finding a new way of fighting influenza and other diseases. It will then be for the pharmaceutical companies to take our blueprint and turn it into a drug.”

Professor Williams said that his work is a more sophisticated development from similar modelling which produced two anti-influenza drugs, Relenza and Tamiflu, whose effectiveness is limited.

He and Dr Ruggiero will study sialidases, enzymes used by the flu virus to snip off a special type of sugar, sialic acid, from the throat cell, allowing the virus to enter the cell and reproduce.

The new drug would be chemically similar to the sialic acid, but would act to inhibit the sialidase. This would hinder the virus from entering the cells, and from leaving them should they gain entry, thereby controlling the spread of the infection.

Because of similarities between the enzymes used by different viruses and bacteria, a similar approach may also be useful in fighting other diseases such as the South American sleeping sickness, Chagas Disease.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Bath. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Bath. "Computers To Be Used To Find Blueprint For New Influenza Drug." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 February 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050218130237.htm>.
University Of Bath. (2005, February 21). Computers To Be Used To Find Blueprint For New Influenza Drug. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050218130237.htm
University Of Bath. "Computers To Be Used To Find Blueprint For New Influenza Drug." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050218130237.htm (accessed December 17, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) According to research out of the University of Pennsylvania, waking up for work is the biggest factor that causes Americans to lose sleep. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) A wave of flu illnesses has forced some Ohio schools to shut down over the past week. State officials confirmed one pediatric flu-related death, a 15-year-old girl in southern Ohio. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins