New Body Defense Mechanism Against Viruses Found

Researchers from a Cambridge laboratory have recently found out a new way of how the body’s defense mechanism may defend against viruses. This relatively new discovery was once considered an impossibility among scientists. But thanks to new studies, researchers have found out that the body’s immune defenses may still work even after viruses have made it inside cells. The researchers from the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge has recently debunked the previous accepted belief that the body’s immune system is rendered powerless after a virus has found its way into a cell and infects it. On the contrary, the researchers discovered that the immune system can still fight viruses even when they are already inside the cells. The researchers discovered that antibodies attach themselves into an invading virus and can remain attached even until the virus has found its way inside a cell. The body seems to know that there should not be anything attached to the antibody. Whatever remains attached to the antibody it recognizes as foreign and something that must be destroyed. Even while the virus may have entered inside a cell to infect it, the antibodies ride piggyback into them. With the antibodies still attached to the virus, the body may still have an opportunity to destroy it. The researchers discovered that the infected cells may be able to do this in just a matter of two hours. Once a cell recognizes the antibody inside it by a naturally occurring protein called TRIM21, it activates a virus-killing machinery inside the cell that can break down the virus in a span of two hours, before the virus has a chance to take over the cell and make it produce its own viral proteins. According to Dr. Leo James, who headed the Cambridge research team, “The beauty of it is that for every infection event, for every time a virus enters a cell, it is also an opportunity for the antibody in the cells to take the virus out.” “That is the key concept that is different from how we think about immunity. At the moment we think of professional immune cells such as T-cells that patrol the body and if they find anything they kill it. This system is more like an ambush because the virus has to go into the cell at some point and every time they do this, this immune mechanism has a chance of taking it out,” he further added. The researchers believe that the findings may someday lead to developing and testing new antiviral drugs that would work against several viral infections instead of just single strains. This might mean even finding a possible cure for the common cold.



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