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Genetic diversity-independent neutralization of pandemic viruses (e.g. HIV), potentially pandemic (e.g. H5N1 strain of influenza) and carcinogenic (e.g. HBV and HCV) viruses and possible agents of bioterrorism (variola) by enveloped virus neutralizing compounds (EVNCs).

Department of Medicine, University of Massachusettes, Worcester, MA 01605, USA.
Vaccine (Impact Factor: 3.49). 07/2008; 26(24):3055-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2007.12.008
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Genetic diversity and hypermutation contribute to difficulties in developing a vaccine against viruses like HIV and influenza. There are currently no known immune correlates of protection against HIV. This has made the development of a vaccine against HIV that would provide sterilizing immunity in the near future an impossible task. The abandonment of a recent AIDS vaccine human trial due to a failure to elicit a protective sterilising immune response confirms that empirical attempts to develop a vaccine may result in failures. Also the difficulty in predicting the next pandemic strain of influenza may make it difficult to respond rapidly should there be an outbreak. Therefore, it is time to explore broad spectrum agents that can target either the lipid portion of the envelope or the sugar moieties of the glycoproteins or the rafts (regions within viral and cell envelopes where a higher concentration of the glycoproteins exist). Broad spectrum agents that can serve as disrafters or neutralize the viral infectivity by binding to the envelope lipid or sugar moieties will not be affected by the vagaries of hypermutation of surface antigens. This is because the post-translation modification is a host function. Presented here is a review of recently reported agents present in pomegranate juice (polyphenols, beta-sitosterol, sugars and ellagic acid) and fulvic acid, described here as the envelope virus neutralising compounds (EVNCs) and complex molecules like lectins and mucins. Pomegranate juice was previously reported to inactivate HIV and further shown by our group to inactivate influenza, herpes viruses and poxviruses. A formulation consisting of fulvic acid, a complex mixture of compounds was previously reported to render vaccinia virus, HIV and SARS virus non-infectious. Recently, both fulvic acid and pomegranate juice have been shown to inactivate genetically diverse strains of influenza including H5N1, further confirming the broad spectrum nature of these agents. How EVNCs will be used in developing a vaccine achieving sterilizing immunity or prophylaxis needs to be researched.

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