Scientists have turned sugar molecules into a versatile antiviral drug

Researchers have synthesized a new synthetic compound that effectively destroys the influenza virus outside the cells and without harm to the body.

Influenza is one of the most common diseases and, in addition to the usual symptoms of a cold, can provoke the development of serious complications. Due to its danger, prevalence and constant mutation, scientists are forced to regularly update vaccines..

Despite the existence of many antiviral drugs, they only help to effectively fight infection if taken within the first 36 hours after infection. Since the first symptoms of a cold appear in about a day, people usually have to resort to additional treatments. Another disadvantage of these drugs is the principle of action, in which they block the replication of the virus inside the cells of the body by attacking.

A group of researchers from the École Polytechnique Federal of Lausanne and the University of Geneva have synthesized a substance that fights the flu in a different way. They developed a modified sugar molecule that mimics the cell membrane, forcing the virus to attach to it. Once an infectious agent «hooks», the molecule exerts local pressure and irreversibly destroys the virus.

Scientists have turned sugar molecules into a versatile antiviral drug

This entire process takes place outside the cells of the body, so the substance can have a permanent effect for more than 36 hours. According to the team, the developed molecule can be used to create broad-spectrum antiviral drugs..

Recent studies have also shown that the human body can fight HIV without drugs..

text: Ilya Bauer, photo: EPFL


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