WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)- A new treatment study at Purdue University could one-day cure COVID-19 and the flu once someone is infected. Typically when a drug is used to cure a virus it attacks multiple cells, not just the ones that are infected.
The treatment that is currently being studied at Purdue uses a targeted therapy approach against viral infections.
The flu virus, like many other pathogenic viruses, exports its proteins into its host cell surface and then buds off nascent viruses in the process of spreading to adjacent host cells.
Because these exported viral proteins are not present in the membranes of healthy host cells, the Purdue team has exploited the presence of viral proteins in infected cells by designing homing molecules that target drugs specifically to virus-infected cells, thereby avoiding the collateral toxicity that occurs when antiviral drugs are taken up by uninfected cells.
Philip Low a professor of Chemistry at Purdue says this treatment activates a person's immune system to attack the infected cell.
"If you can achieve that objective it creates a drug that is much more concentrated in the diseased cell that needs the treatment and far less concentrated in the healthy cells that have no problem," said Philip Low the Ralph C. Corley Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Purdue.
Low says this approach could be used to eventually treat COVID-19. They have currently had success with this type of treatment when infecting mice with the flu. They hope to take to flu study to human trials next year. For more information click here.