Australia-UK teams join to fight flu

25-07-2006 | |

CSIRO and the University of Bath have combined their expertise to develop new drugs to better safeguard against flu viruses developing resistance.

In a joint application to the British Medical Research Council (MRC), Dr Jennifer McKimm-Breschkin of CSIRO Molecular and Health Technologies and Dr Andrew Watts of the University of Bath will share equally in a £408,000 (€243,815) grant over three years to tackle pandemic flu.

The Australian team was the only international applicant awarded funds in this round of MRC grants.

The MRC have funded ten different projects, all researching pandemic flu but approaching it from different angles. Other groups are looking at issues such as how flu viruses infect different hosts or trying to better understand the human immune response to flu.

The Australian-UK team is the only one looking at developing new drugs to fight the disease.

The research will focus on trying to develop an improved class of anti-virals for the treatment of influenza viruses, including the highly pathogenic avian H5N1 (Bird Flu) influenza virus. The aim is to develop a drug which is able to be administered orally and avoids drug-induced resistance in the virus – which has already been observed in some Tamiflu treated patients infected with the H5N1 virus.