How viruses evade the immune system
Today’s Video of the Day from Aarhus University illustrates how viruses evade the immune system and cause disease.
Professor and virologist Søren Riis Paludan has been leading a research partnership between Aarhus University, the University of Oxford and the University of Gothenburg that is shedding new light on the tactics used by viruses when they attack the immune system.
“In the study, we found that the herpes simplex virus is capable of inhibiting a protein in the cells, known as STING, which is activated when there is a threat,” explained Professor Paludan.
“When STING is inhibited, the body’s immune system is also inhibited – the virus thereby puts the brakes on the body’s brake, which is supposed to prevent us from becoming ill. Other viruses also make use of the same principle.”
The same protein is inhibited by many different viruses, including the coronavirus.
“This suggests that we have found an Achilles heel in the virus and the way it establishes infections in the body,” said Professor Paludan.
“Our results lead us to hope that if we can prevent viruses from blocking STING, then we can prevent the virus from replicating. That could pave the way for new principles for treatment of herpes, influenza and also the coronavirus.”
Video Credit: Aarhus University