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Fighting Bird Flu
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Fighting Bird Flu

July 12, 2010
To ward off avian influenza, which some fear may one day trigger a world-wide pandemic, researchers are scurrying to develop new flu drugs to complement the current arsenal which includes Tamiflu and Relenza. In a paper published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, a team led by University of California, San Diego (UCSD), biochemists described the nanosecond-by-nanosecond movements of a key enzyme called N1, needed to spread the infection to new cells. The simulation, performed on the San Diego Supercomputer Center's DataStar supercomputer, described the interaction of two chemical "loops" in creating a "hot pocket" region that could represent a potential target for new drugs capable of blocking N1's activity. The image here shows N1, with the anti-viral Tamiflu bound in the active sites (silver). Rommie Amaro, a postdoctoral fellow in the UCSD laboratory of J. Andrew McCammon, said her group has identified several potential inhibitors of interest. The National Science Foundation is the primary funding source for the SDSC. [Image taken from the San Diego Supercomputer Center Multimedia Gallery.] (Date of Image: 2008)