Flu enzyme modeled

A new structural model of the neuraminidase enzyme in the type A influenza virus H1N1, previously referred to by the media as "swine flu", has been revealed by Sebastian Maurer-Stroh, and his colleagues at the Bioinformatics Institute (BII) in Singapore's Biopolis. It is a mere two weeks since the first patient virus samples were made available to researchers and Maurer-Stroh's team has quickly developed an interactive model that could help medicinal chemists and molecular biologists understand the evolving nature of this enzyme. It might also assist with the search for novel antiviral drugs or in the development of a vaccine. The World Health Organisation is currently set to raise the alert status of the H1N1 virus to pandemic status, depending on whether rates of infection continue to increase in the coming days.