PeptiVir’s four researchers are working on creating “cross-protective” antibodies that could potentially protect people against the influenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), parainfluenza, HIV, Ebola and coronaviruses such as SARS.
Each of these viruses shares a common feature. They have a surface protein that binds the cells to the host and an infusion protein that infects the host. The problem is that the binding proteins undergo a lot of mutations, making it difficult to develop a universal vaccine against these viruses.
“With normal seasonal flu vaccinations, you get an immunization before the season with the version of that protein we think will infect you that year,” said PeptiVir Chairman Richard Duke. “But these proteins mutate a lot.”
While getting a new flu shot every year is annoying, these mutating proteins can cause a lot more problems. Because they can interact with animal versions of a virus — think avian or swine flu — they can lead to pandemics.
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