Could a nasal spray of engineered proteins be used as front-line prophylactic defense against the influenza infection and provide a new way to prevent infection of current and emerging influenza viruses? Recent evidence from a recently published study suggests that this novel approach to influenza prevention may indeed work, or at least in mice.
In the study, researchers engineered a multivalent biologic using carbohydrate-binding modules that bind with high affinity to sialic acid, the critical component of the cell surface receptor in the respiratory tract for the influenza virus. To test the efficacy of the novel biologic to prevent influenza, the researchers administered a single 1-ug intranasal dose to mice seven days prior to injecting the mice with a lethal challenge of the 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus. The study found that the single dose provided complete protection from the virus.
Additionally, the study found that the novel biologic induced a significant cytokine response.