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St. Jude Hospital to Test Nanotech Flu Virus Drugs

H1N1 virus

Electron-microscope image of the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus (

31 May 2016. A company developing anti-viral drugs delivered in nanoscale particles is partnering with scientists at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to test drug candidates to treat influenza. Financial details of the agreement between NanoViricides Inc. in Shelton, Connecticut and St. Jude hospital in Memphis were not disclosed.

NanoViricides makes drugs that fight dangerous viral infections, by attacking and dismantling virus particles. The company’s technology chemically attaches binding molecules from cell surface of the target virus to nanoscale polymer particles called micelles; 1 nanometer equals 1 billionth of a meter. The nanoscale particles then target receptors on the surface of the virus, which the company says do not change when the virus mutates.

The company says its technology allows for development of treatments targeting specific viruses, such as HIV or shingles, as well as those in different types of formulations, such as injections, pills, or ointments. In addition, NanoViricide is developing a broad spectrum antiviral medication to treat a number of viral infections at once, including dengue and Ebola/Marburg viruses. The company says its technology makes it possible to design a single antiviral drug that addresses 90 to 95 percent of all known viruses.

The company says its advanced technology, known as Accurate-Drug-In-Field, makes it possible to design, manufacture, and deploy new antiviral drugs in as little as 3 weeks. Because the underlying NanoViricide technology is designed to address a broad range of viral targets, health authorities could stockpile nanoscale micelles — devices that carries the active agents — in the field, then use those particles to combine with specific antiviral compounds.

One of NanoViricides’ drugs in development, named FluCide, is designed to treat serious influenza cases, with injections planned for hospitalized patients and oral treatments given to people in outpatient clinics. The agreement with St. Jude calls for the lab of virologist Elena Govorkova to test NanoViricides’ influenza candidates in lab cultures with influenza A and B strains on various types of human cells, including cells from the surface of the respiratory tract. Govorkova and colleagues are also expected to test NanoViricides candidates with lab animals for safety and efficacy against H1N1, or swine flu, infections.

Govorkova is lab director in St Jude’s virology department. She studies antiviral drug combinations with different mechanisms for action on various viral proteins. In previous work, Govorkova evaluated antiviral drugs against a number of influenza targets in lab cultures and animals.

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