Computer-designed proteins programmed to disarm a variety of flu viruses
Computer-designed proteins are under construction to battle the flu. Researchers at the University of Washington are demonstrating that proteins found in nature, that do not normally bind the flu, can be engineered to act as broad-spectrum antiviral agents against a variety of flu virus strains, including H1N1 pandemic influenza. A research team is making major efforts in optimizing the technique and design of computer-designed influenza inhibitors. These proteins are created via computer modeling to fit exquisitely into a specific nano-sized target on flu viruses. By binding the target region, the virus is kept from changing shape, which is how it infects living cells. The research efforts are made possible by computers that can describe the landscapes of forces involved on the submicroscopic scale.