Influenza spreads around the world in a yearly outbreak, resulting in 3~5 million cases of severe illness and 250,000~500,000 deaths. The recent antibody-type flu screening is approximately 60% accurate and only distinguishes the basic types of influenza. Antigenic drift and shift make the prediction of the upcoming epidemic subtype of influenza a challenging task. Antibodies take time to be developed, but this slow yet potent remedy can’t meet its urgent demands. To solve this problem, we utilize aptamer which is known for its specific recognition of unique proteins of influenza viruses. By improving the conventional method, we developed a rapid detection device which effectively targets influenza. Furthermore, we have also managed to exploit the aptamers to inhibit virus infection. Our project not only seeks to provide a lower cost, fast production and highly-stable detection tool, but also has strong potential for new treatment and prevention.
What is aptamer
The nucleic acid aptamers are small molecule RNA or single-stranded DNA has 20 to 80 bases in length with specific 3D configuration. The nucleic acid aptamers recognize and target with a shape complememtarity in high affinity. This is similar to antibody antigenic reaction. Therefore, nucleic acid aptamers can be used as antagonists ormolecular targeting tools similar to antibodies. The advantage of nucleic acid aptamers are that aptamers can identify a wide range of targets such as ions, peptides, small molecule compounds,protein. However, antibodies can only recognize targets with immunogenicity.