H1N1 Research: Scientists discover natural flu-fighting proteins

CHICAGO, Dec. 18, 2009 (Reuters) — U.S. researchers have discovered antiviral proteins in cells that naturally fight off influenza infections, a finding that may lead to better ways to make vaccines and protect people against the flu.

Comment: The scientists published their findings in the journal Cell in a paper titled The IFITM Proteins Mediate Cellular Resistance to Influenza A H1N1 Virus, West Nile Virus, and Dengue Virus.

Using a new research technique called RNA interference (which involves systematically switching off individual genes and exposing cells to the H1N1 Influenza A flu virus), the researchers discovered a family of flu-fighting proteins called interferon-indicible transmembrane (IFITM) proteins that “restrict an early step in influenza A viral replication” and “confer basal (basic/fundamental) resistance to the influenza A virus.”


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Reuters: Scientists discover natural flu-fighting proteins
Cell: “The IFITM Proteins Mediate Cellular Resistance to Influenza A H1N1 Virus, West Nile Virus, and Dengue Virus.” – PDF

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