Researchers from Canadian medical institutions, Sunnybrook Hospital and St. Michael’s Hospital, have developed a groundbreaking drug that should help fight one of the most common diseases – the flu. The principle of action of the drug is in a sense the opposite of traditional drugs. Influenza is an infectious viral disease. Its characteristic feature is the ability to rapidly mutate. To date, more than 2000 variants of it are known. The feasibility of influenza vaccination is disputed on the basis that at the time of development of the serum from a particular virus strain in
the world already has its next version. In this regard, the fight against epidemics of this disease is very difficult.
Medicine has known this disease since the 16th century. Over the past 150 years, 10 severe and very severe influenza epidemics have been recorded . For example, the Spanish flu , or ” Spanish flu “, was the most massive influenza pandemic in the history of mankind in absolute numbers, both in terms of the number of people infected and the number of deaths. In 1918-1919, about 550 million people (almost 30% of the world’s population) were infected with the Spanish flu worldwide . According to some estimates, almost 100 million people died (up to 5% of the world’s population). The epidemic began in the last months of the First World War and quickly bypassed this largest armed conflict at that time in terms of the scale of casualties. Every year, the World Health Organization estimates that an average of 250 to 500 thousand people die from influenza . But people do not die from the very presence of the virus, but from complications that arise as a result of its activity in the body. Acute respiratory distress syndrome of the lungs becomes one of the most common causes . The inflamed vessels begin to let fluid pass , which penetrates into the alveoli, which leads to asphyxia – the person suffocates. While scientists are trying to keep up with the ever-changing strains of influenza, Dr. Warren Lee, an employee of the hospital’s research center, pondered the possibility of approaching the problem from a different angle. What if, instead of trying to kill the virus, you help the body itself? For example, prevent vascular damage and subsequent fluid seepage. In the laboratory, two groups of mice were infected with the flu. One group received no treatment, and the second received an experimental drug, Vasculotide, developed at Sunnybrook Hospital, which strengthens the endothelium – the walls of blood vessels. All mice that did not receive the drug died. Among those who received the medicine, 80% survived. At the same time, the drug worked, even when applied several days after infection, and did not adversely affect the body’s immune response. No side effects were noticed when the drug was used in tandem with antiviral drugs. Dr. Li is optimistic – although the experiments were carried out on mice, the symptoms of the disease in vertebrates are almost identical, so it is highly likely that such a medicine or its variants can be adapted for humans.