The Use of Molecular Graphics in the Design of Anti-Influenza Agents

R.C. Wade (introduced by P.J. Goodford)

Laboratory of Molecular Biophysics,University of Oxford, The Rex Richards Building, Oxford OX1 3QU.

There is a need for a specific drug which is effective against influenza despite the mutation of the virus which causes periodic epidemics of the disease. It is now possible to use the method of drug design by receptor fit to address this problem since the three-dimensional structures of the two antigenic surface coat proteins, haemagglutinin (HA) (Wilson et al,l981) and neuraminidase (Colman et al,1983), of the influenza virus have been solved. One of the functions of HA is to attach the virus to the host cell receptors by binding to sialic acid. In the present work, peptides were designed to block the host cell receptor binding site of HA by binding specifically to the highly conserved residues in this receptor site. The designed peptides should prevent attachment of the virus to the host cell and thus halt infection.

Br. J. Pharmac. Proc. Suppl. (1988) 95, 588P