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'Protecting virus' offers instant flu protection and converts flu infections into their own vaccines

advantage is that influenza virus does not appear to become resistant to 'protecting virus', although drug-resistance is a serious problem with many microbes.

'Protecting virus' also protects when given up to 24 hours after infection (and possibly longer). It is thus able to counter an actual infection. It could therefore also be used as a treatment for family and other direct contacts of infected individuals.

'Protecting virus' is easy to administer as it targets the same cells as any other flu virus and uses the same method to enter the cell. Laboratory work to date has used a drop of saline containing the protecting virus, squirted up the nose. Aerosol administration, used already for some vaccines, would be another way and is more user-friendly than injections.

The protecting virus could also be a useful treatment for domestic animals. Ducks get a gut infection and chickens a combined gut and respiratory infection, so it may be possible to simply deliver the protecting virus to them in their drinking water. One dose should protect a chicken for weeks. Flu is a major problem in the horse racing industry and in domestic horses. It also has very recently become a problem in domestic dogs in the USA and domestic cats are susceptible to H5N1 virus.

The Warwick research team has now filed a patent on the protecting virus and they are exploring ways of taking 'protecting virus' through human clinical trials and testing on birds. The University has established a company ViraBiotech to help advance those aims. This may involve venture capital support, and collaborations with pharmaceutical companies, to enable this novel technology to be rigorously tested in a wide range of animals and humans, and using a wide range of influenza strains.


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Contact: Peter Dunn
p.j.dunn@warwick.ac.uk
2-476-52-3708
University of Warwick
4-Oct-2006


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