Influenza remains a burden on public health, as current treatments of viral infections remain ineffective due to frequent virus mutations. Many current influenza treatments rely on targeting surface viral glycoproteins. Unfortunately, these glycoproteins are primary targets of the immune system, which results in increased selection pressure and mutational rate, leading to the well-known seasonal variation of influenza virus. In contrast, the nucleocapsid viral protein (NP), located in the interior of the virus, is more conserved and an ideal antibody target; however, NP is inaccessible to extracellular antibodies produced in response to infection. To circumvent the challenge of targeting NP, scientists at NIAID have developed an antibody genetically fused with a cell penetrating peptide (CPP-mAb) that targets NP within infected cells to effectively inhibit viral replication. By targeting NP rather than the surface glycoproteins, this CPP-mAb can treat more influenza variants, potentially across flu seasons, and is an improvement upon current influenza treatments.
This technology is available for licensing for commercial development in accordance with 35 U.S.C. § 209 and 37 CFR Part 404, as well as for further development and evaluation under a research collaboration.