Gold nanorods may help attack H1N1, other flu viruses effectively

May 25th, 2010 - 5:15 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, May 25 (ANI): Scientists at the University at Buffalo and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that future pandemics of seasonal flu, H1N1 and other drug-resistant viruses may be thwarted by a potent, immune-boosting payload that is effectively delivered to cells by gold nanorods.

“This joint research by UB and the CDC has the potential to usher in a new generation of antiviral medicines to aggressively treat a broad range of infectious diseases, from H1N1 to avian flu and perhaps Ebola, that are becoming increasingly resistant to the medicines used against them,” said UB team leader Paras Prasad.

The collaborative work between UB and CDC came together through the work of Krishnan Chakravarthy, from UB and the paper’s first author.

The study describes the single strand RNA molecule, which prompts a strong immune response against the influenza virus by ramping up the host’s cellular production of interferons, proteins that inhibit viral replication.

But, like most RNA molecules, they are unstable when delivered into cells. The gold nanorods produced at UB act as an efficient vehicle to deliver into cells the powerful immune activator molecule.

A key advantage is gold’s biocompatibility.

“The gold nanorods protect the RNA from degrading once inside cells, while allowing for more selected targeting of cells,” said co-author Paul R. Knight III, Chakravarthy’s thesis advisor.

Chakravarthy said: “This work demonstrates that the modulation of host response is going to be critical to the next generation of anti-viral therapies.”

“The novelty of this approach is that most of these kinds of RNA viruses share a common host-response immune pathway; that is what we have targeted with our nanoparticle therapy. By enhancing the host immune response, we avoid the difficulty of ongoing viral resistance generated through mutations,” Chakravarthy added.

The work is published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (ANI)

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