FEB 25, 2016 3:06 PM PST

Is the flu virus hiding from you?

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker
Over time, the influenza virus has evolved, and natural selection has favored a mechanism that helps flu spread as quickly as possible in a human host by avoiding detection from immune cells that are programmed to recognize foreign particles. How does the flu virus evade the immune system? Empowering immune cells to win this game of hide and seek could lead to advanced treatments for and preventions from flu.
 


Flu viruses have a secret weapon: a protein that prevents immune cells from recognizing and attacking flu viral proteins as it infects host cells. This way, the viral particles can enter and leave cells to promote a widespread infection with no immune cells to stand in their way.

SImilar to the way bacteria evolve over time to become resistant to antibiotics, scientists believe that the flu evolves in the same way.

"The protein's immunosuppressant effect can possibly be used to develop better treatments for these types of diseases, where the immune system is chronically overactive,” said Associate Professor Christian Holm from the Department of Biomedicine at Aarhus University. “By suppressing the immune system's reaction, the symptoms can be reduced.”

Holm co-led the study with colleague Søren R. Paludan, PhD, published in the journal Nature Communications.

Inhibiting the protein, the flu’s secret weapon, could be a new way to fight the flu, either in the form of a vaccine or an antiviral. On the other hand, extracting, isolating, and injecting the protein into autoimmune disorder patients could reduce the severity of harmful immune responses.
 

Source: Aarhus University
About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
JAN 04, 2021
Microbiology
Some Microbes Could Help Treat Type 2 Diabetes
JAN 04, 2021
Some Microbes Could Help Treat Type 2 Diabetes
The microbial community in our gastrointestinal tract has been shown to have a significant impact on our health and well ...
JAN 12, 2021
Microbiology
Connecting Gut Microbes, Diet, and Health
JAN 12, 2021
Connecting Gut Microbes, Diet, and Health
Advances in genetic technologies have revolutionized biomedical research in recent years. One example is the discovery t ...
JAN 13, 2021
Plants & Animals
San Diego Zoo's Gorillas Positive for COVID-19
JAN 13, 2021
San Diego Zoo's Gorillas Positive for COVID-19
Earlier this week, the Associated Press reported that several gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park tested positive ...
JAN 17, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
New Insights Into Kabuki Syndrome
JAN 17, 2021
New Insights Into Kabuki Syndrome
Kabuki syndrome is a rare multisystemic disorder that causes delays in growth, distinctive facial features, short statur ...
JAN 18, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
MicroRNAs May be Treatment Targets for Traumatic Brain Injury
JAN 18, 2021
MicroRNAs May be Treatment Targets for Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury, which can happen after a blow to the head, has been called a silent epidemic and is the number o ...
JAN 26, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Prostate Cancer Screening: No More False Positives
JAN 26, 2021
Prostate Cancer Screening: No More False Positives
A new diagnostic test powered by artificial intelligence has been found to detect prostate cancer markers in urine sampl ...
Loading Comments...