2019 marks a sombre anniversary: the centennial of the 1918-1919 Spanish influenza pandemic, which claimed nearly 100 million lives worldwide in one of the deadliest disease outbreaks in recorded history.
Many viruses, including the influenza, recognize sugar containing receptors in human lungs to infect and cause disease.
As antibodies and their fragments are an established class of clinically successful molecules, Professor Richard Pleass’s laboratory have been engineering sugars onto antibodies to block the virus.
In an article published in the Journal of Immunology, his group have shown, using WHO standard assays, that leads, developed at LSTM, can block highly divergent viruses including the viruses responsible for the 1918-1919 pandemic. They are currently working with colleagues at Porton Down to further test the efficacy of lead compounds and are seeking commercial partnerships for licensing.