Researchers from the University of Washington (UW), University of Texas at Galveston (UT) and Kineta Inc. have discovered a method that triggers the body’s innate immunity response.
The results of the joint study were published this week.
According to the Journal of Virology study, this discovery could have potential ties to a future broad-spectrum antiviral therapeutic that could be effective against influenza A, West Nile, dengue, Lassa and Ebola viruses. The compound is able to activate the RIG-I protein. This protein is a pathogen recognition receptor that scans RNA from pathogens and initiates the cell’s immune response if it is a recognized threat.
Kineta Chief Scientific Officer Shawn Iadonato said that an induced mechanism that can trigger the immune response is a key part for discovering potential means of treating viruses that are not affected by currently available antivirals. If a drug is capable of triggering this response, it becomes difficult for a pathogen to develop resistance as the virus and the drug would not interact directly, he explained.
Iadonato also noted that while broad spectrum antibiotics exist, there is no equivalent currently available for viral infections.
Viruses that this compound could potentially treat are considered a threat to public health because of their propensity to mutate to avoid immune responses.