Seasonal influenza epidemics lead to 3–5 million severe infections and 290,000–650,000 annual global deaths. With deaths from the 1918 influenza pandemic estimated at >50,000,000 and future pandemics anticipated, the need for a potent influenza treatment is critical. In this study, we design and synthesize a bifunctional small molecule by conjugating the neuraminidase inhibitor, zanamivir, with the highly immunogenic hapten, dinitrophenyl (DNP), which specifically targets the surface of free virus and viral-infected cells. We show that this leads to simultaneous inhibition of virus release, and immune-mediated elimination of both free virus and virus-infected cells. Intranasal or intraperitoneal administration of a single dose of drug to mice infected with 100x MLD50 virus is shown to eradicate advanced infections from representative strains of both influenza A and B viruses. Since treatments of severe infections remain effective up to three days post lethal inoculation, our approach may successfully treat infections refractory to current therapies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)