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Fighting flu

By: UBC Media RelationsPublished: 5 years ago

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This video illustrates how the flu virus works.

In order to spread in the body, the flu virus first uses a protein, called hemagglutinin, to bind to the healthy cell's receptors. Once it has inserted its RNA and replicated, the virus uses an enzyme, called neuraminidase, to sever the connection and move on to the next healthy cell.

Current flu drugs stop the virus from moving on to the next cell by preventing neuraminidase from cutting its ties with the infected cell, thus binding it to the infected cell and allowing the immune system to clear it away.

A new class of flu drug developed at UBC latches onto the neuraminidase like a broken key, stuck in a lock, rendering it useless and has been shown to be effective against drug resistant strains of the flu virus.

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