Toshinori Sato and colleagues note in the new study that current antiviral drugs, including Tamiflu and Relenza, fight influenza by blocking key proteins that viruses need to reproduce. As the viruses reproduce, however, they can mutate into drug-resistant strains.
The researchers describe discovery of a new way to prevent flu viruses from infecting cells in the first place. They identified potential drugs that can block the first step in the infection process, and demonstrated that the substances work in cell cultures. "These results may lead to a new approach in the design of antiviral drugs," they state, noting that it could be used to develop new drugs for a variety of other medical problems.