Flu fighters

Influenza can be lethal. There are up to five million cases each year worldwide and half a million die following infection with the virus. Chemistry World now reports that researchers from Australia and the USA have developed an approach to an antiviral drug that gives higher yields and greater efficacy than currently available with the likes of zanamivir and oseltamivir. Benjamin Fraser from the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation in collaboration with Alastair Draffan at Biota Holdings in Melbourne and K. Barry Sharpless at the Scripps Research institute in San Diego have designed a higher-yielding synthesis route, which can also prepare the dimers with new linker functionality using a known cycloaddition reaction. The dimeric products are up to 3000 times more potent than zanamivir tests show.