The interferon response is a crucial component of the body’s natural ability to control virus infection. Its activation results in the production of soluble proteins that bind to the surface of epithelial cells that line the respiratory tract and activate an antiviral state, suppressing further viral replication. Under this grant, Exscientia aims to harness the activation of the host interferon response as a therapeutic approach for pandemic influenza. The goal is to be able to ‘turn on’ the interferon response, in a highly controlled manner using small molecule therapeutics, and if successful this may transform the way influenza, including future variants, and ultimately other viruses, can be treated and prevented in the future.
The 3-year project is led by Professor Ian Goodfellow, Vice President Antivirals at Exscientia and it will commence December 2023.
Picture credit Exscientia