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Spanish researchers reveal a strategy that viruses use to avoid the immune system



VALCHICA (EP). A team of researchers from the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) has found a new strategy that is used by viruses to get rid of the immune system of the body.

The discovery, published in "Natural Communications", can help to improve the effectiveness of therapies for some autoimmune diseases, such as lupus erythematosus or Aicardi-Gutier's syndrome.

The human organism has a kind of molecule, interferons, which manage to slow down the progression of pathogens, especially viruses. However, uncontrolled interferon activity is also a major cause of the pathology associated with a group of autoimmune diseases known as interferonapathies, among which are mentioned.

"This study is related to the molecular mechanisms of a similar feature used by poxviruses to avoid host response based on interferon," said the CSIC researcher. Antonio Alkami.

"These viruses produce a soluble receptor that very effectively binds to interferon to neutralize it and prevent it from carrying out its antiviral activity," Alkami continued.

The researchers used two different models of poxvirus infection. First, a mice virus that causes a disease similar to smallpox and, secondly, a virus that is used to vaccinate against the mentioned disease until the viral virus eradicated.

"In both cases, binding to the viral interferon receptor on cell surfaces provided a retention mechanism in the area of ​​infection, which prevented its dispersion and highlighted its action where it was most needed while the infection progressed. It is essential for the virus because , without it, can not block the host's protective response and the infection is offset, "explained the CSIC researcher Bruno Erneaz.

Current Therapies

So far, current therapies based on the deletion of the biological activity of interferon, such as specific antibodies against this molecule, have not proven to be fully effective in the treatment of these diseases.

The results of this work provide an explanation for the lack of effectiveness of current therapies in interferonapopathies and increase the possibility of modifying these molecules and increasing the effectiveness of anti-interferent therapies.

"In short, this is a new lesson learned by poxviruses, which during their evolution were able to improve and optimize the tools they have available to fight our immune system." Now we can use some of these viral modifications to do the same in those diseases where our immune system and inflammatory processes cause chaos to deregulate, "Alkami summed up.


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