Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, USA have identified a protein which is found to cure viral and infectious diseases.
Termed Retrocyclin101 (RC-101), the protein is found in some primates such as Orangutans. It was found to be effective in the treatment of influenza, especially in reducing flu deaths.
The protein, which is absent in humans is thought to have been lost during the evolution of primate species.The researchers hope that this protein will be effective in curing several viral diseases like dengue, Zika and other deadly influenza which cause inflammation.
A research paper in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology said that the laboratory experiments on mice have found that RC-101 is an effective cure for flu. The study was done on two groups of mice which were given a dose of a typically lethal type of influenza.
The protein was given to a group for five days after two days of infection while the other group was given powerless medicine. It was found that the mice which were treated with RC-101 had a better chance of survival. About 90 percent of mice which were given powerless medicine died. Only 20 percent of mice which were given the protein suffered death.
According to researchers, the protein targets the flu virus as well as the inflammation caused by it. It plays two crucial roles to defeat the influenza virus: first, it prevents the virus from infecting the cells. It can also cure the inflammation which hosts the virus and causes symptoms like fever, pain, lethargy and breathing trouble. The double action of the protein makes it more acceptable for the researchers.
Daniel J Prantner, a research associate at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) said, "Every year, thousands of people across the country die from the flu or its complications, despite widespread use of annual influenza vaccines. We think that this protein could lead to medicine that could be a powerful tool in the battle against this disease and against inflammation in general."