Volume 95 Issue 26 | p. 8 | Concentrates
Issue Date: June 26, 2017

Three-pronged designed peptide neutralizes influenza

Researchers improve on nature by finding a way to block viral binding to hosts at three spots on the pathogen simultaneously
Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: infectious disease, synthetic biology, influenza

If you want to thwart infection by influenza viruses, a good bet is to block the pathogen’s exterior hemagglutinin proteins from binding with a host cell’s sialic acid-containing sugars. Nature already uses this interference strategy: Antibodies bind influenza hemagglutinin, preventing infection by obstructing the host-pathogen interaction in a variety of ways, sometimes at the sialic acid binding site and other times with just the antibody’s sheer physical bulk. This bulk has its downside, though: Only . . .

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