In article <4do5gi$1ab at lantana.singnet.com.sg>, CINDY
<cinpang at singnet.com.sg> wrote:
> I'm a high school student and wish to do a project on finding
> the effective cures for flu. I read up that flu is a virus. So,
> is there any way to cultivate the virus and later use the
> various cure to see if the virus will be removed? Can I do
> it the same way of doing a bacteria culture on an agar plate??
> Any suggestions are welcomed. By the way, I will also
> appreciate it if someone can tell me how to improve and modify
> this project to make it more interesting.
>> P.s.: Is there anything called anti viral drugs? If yes, can
> you briefly enlighten me on how they work?
Influenza is a virus, but viruses cannot be grown on an agar plate. They
must infect and replicate inside a living cell which is capable of
supporting the growth of that virus. Influenza viruses can be grown inside
hen's eggs or using expensive tissue culture equipment. As influenza
viruses are human pathogens, it would not be a good idea to try to grow
them outside of a specialist microbiology lab for safety reasons.
There are a few anti-viral drugs available now. Good examples are
acyclovir (which works against herpes simplex virus), interferon alpha
(which is used for some hepatitis virus infections) and zidovudine or AZT
which is used to try to stop HIV replication. There are some others as
well. The two major anti-viral drugs for influenza are amantidine (which
sits in a pore of the M2 protein and blocks ion transport - this has a
knock on effect of inactivating the haemagglutinin membrane protein on
influenza virus) and the new drug from Glaxo called GG167 which is under
trial at the moment (this inhibits the enzyme called neuraminidase on the
surface of the virus and stops new viruses from being released by infected
Really though, the best thing to do is to go to a library and get hold of
a textbook on virology which would be able to answer most of the questions
Microbial Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology Group,
School of Biological Sciences, Biology West Building,
University of Birmingham,
West Midlands, B15 2TT.
Tel. (+44) (0)121 414 6555
Fax. (+44) (0)121 414 6557
E-mail g.e.price at bham.ac.uk