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Attacking Human Proteins Can Stop The Flu

— San Diego scientists say attacking proteins in the human body could be the best way to stop the flu.

Influenza cannot survive and replicate on its own. That's why the virus must co-opt up to 300 human proteins in order to live in the body. A study, co-written by researchers at the Burnham and Salk Institutes, has identified those human proteins. By suppressing them, researchers have been able to stop the flu virus in lab experiments. Sumit Chanda, a professor at the Burnham Institute, said antiviral medicine that attacks human proteins could be more effective than medicine that attacks influenza.

"Flu has an uncanny ability to mutate its own genome and become resistant to what we throw at it," he said. "It's unlikely that flu will be able to get around anything we throw at our own proteins."

Chanda said we must make sure suppressing those proteins is a safe form of treatment. His research was published in the journal Nature.

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