Florida State research advances flu treatments
The goal behind the research is to develop innovative methods for treating the flu and decrease the number of people who suffer from the illness and save the overall health burden of the yearly flu virus.
The team at the university believes that vaccines will not be enough to prevent flu epidemics. They used National High Magnetic Field Laboratory to better understand how the flu works and created a detailed outline of the mechanism enabling the flu to reproduce itself inside human cells, which makes people sick and contagious.
Thanks to the sensitive nuclear magnetic resonance magnet, which is like a powerful MRI, the researchers could see and capture images of how the flu uses protons to fuse the virus membrane coat to the host membrane coat. This is how the virus infects people and reproduces itself, spreading throughout a body.
With this information, the scientists want to focus on developing better prescription drugs that can fight the flu virus.
"If we can get a drug that disrupts this mechanism, that would be huge," Tim Cross, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Florida State University, said. "We really don't know when a deadly flu epidemic is going to hit next. We need backup to vaccines."