American researchers have identified new antibodies that target the “dark side” of an influenza virus protein

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health in the United States (NIH) have identified antibodies that target a difficult-to-locate region of the influenza virus, this American agency announced on Friday, reports Xinhua.

Researchers have identified new antibodies

The results of the research, published on Friday in the journal Immunity, bring a new perspective on “the dark side” and relatively unexplored of the neuraminidase (NA) protein head, NIH stated, writes Agerpres.

Influenza NA protein is a surface protein that contains two parts: a globular head and a narrow stalk. The bottom of the NA head contains a highly conserved region with antibody targets that makes it vulnerable to antibody binding and virus inhibition, while being unaffected by common mutations that occur in drug-resistant strains, according to the study.

This region was named “dark side” due to its partially hidden location and its relatively unexplored characteristics.

American researchers have isolated human antibodies that target “dark side” of the NA protein in the blood of two people who had recovered from influenza A subtype H3N2, a major subtype of seasonal influenza viruses. In laboratory tests, the antibodies inhibited the spread of H2N2 viruses, the subtype that caused the 1957-1958 pandemic flu, and H3N2 viruses from humans, pigs and birds.

The antibodies also protected mice from lethal infection with an H3N2 subtype virus when given to the animals either one day before or two days after infection, showing that the newly identified antibodies can treat and prevent influenza in within this model, according to the study.

New research shows that “the dark side” a The NA protein has unique, previously unexploited epitopes that could be used to develop new vaccines and therapeutic strategies, NIH researchers said.