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Scientists Developed Advanced Method to Fight Respiratory Infections in Children

Scientists have developed advanced models to help block the HIPV virus in the host body. HIPV is one of the major reasons for respiratory infections in babies, responsible for about 30-40 % of illnesses.

Scientists Developed Advanced Method to Fight Respiratory Infections in Children

Sentinel Digital Desk

Advanced Method to Treat Respiratory Infections in Children

Human Parainfluenza Virus (HIPV) is a common virus that can cause different respiratory problems in children and babies. The virus causes infections in the airways and causes cold, runny nose, cough, ear infections, sore throat. It also affects the lower respiratory tract of children and can cause croup, pneumonia, bronchitis. It is one of the major cause of respiratory problems in children in the world. HIPV alone is responsible for 30-40% of illnesses in children and this virus can also affect older people with weaker immune systems.

What Is Human Parainfluenza Virus (HIPV)

HIPV latch onto the human cells and inject their genetic material to make new viruses and among these, the HIPV3 is the most common and prevalent one. There are no specific and approved vaccines for HIPV so far.
Researchers have recently made improvements in methods to fight the virus. They have developed a new method in rodent models and have engineered a short chunk of protein or peptide which can help in preventing the HIPV virus from attaching to the host cells.
Recently, researchers have also published their findings in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. They say that the HIPV virus uses specialized fusion proteins to enter the host cells and they look like three corkscrew laid side by side.
A work by Moscona-Porotto lab showed that scientist could take a partial chunk of the corkscrew protein from the HIPV3 and introduce this peptide to the virus which would prevent the corkscrew from driving the infection. The peptide in the form of a corkscrew zippers up with the corkscrew of the virus creating a tight bundle of 6 corkscrews. The new peptide lasts longer in the body and making it effective in blocking infection in rodent models than the original one.
Initially, the research team started to make the original peptide resistant to the protein-digesting enzymes in the body. Therefore, the Gellman lab went on to create a stronger version of the peptide.
We all know that cells build proteins out of amino acids but chemists make beta-amino acids, which means they have one extra carbon atom. The peptides while building blocks generally take different shapes because of the presence of the extra atom. This can help to hide the peptide from protein-digesting enzymes and make them last longer. However, the shortcoming was if the peptide's shape changed too much they might not lock with the HIPVs corkscrew fusion protein.
In another improvement made by the Moscona-Porotto lab, the researchers attached the peptide to a molecule of cholesterol to help the peptide slide into the greasy cell membrane where it can block the virus effectively. A researcher said, " Our hypothesis was that the combination of the beta-amino acids and cholesterol would increase anti-viral efficacy".
When the research team gave the new peptide to cotton rats it lasted longer in the lungs than the previous version. The peptide was delivered into the rodents noses. To test the efficacy of the new peptide the rats received it before they got exposed to the HIPV3 virus. The result showed that after receiving the new and improved peptide the lungs had 10 times lesser viruses than before.
Scientists are yet to test it on humans but further refinements are to be made to be completely assured of the positive results. The researchers are trying to make more advancements so that the peptides last even longer in the body.

Also read: Are You Consuming Healthy Raw Honey? Difference Between Raw Honey vs Processed Honey

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