Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 4 August 2015

Natural defence against swine flu discovered

Published 22/12/2009 | 05:41

A previously unknown natural defence against swine flu and other viruses has been discovered, which could lead to new treatments.

The virus-fighting proteins were identified 25 years ago but their role has been a mystery until now.

Scientists found that knocking the protein IFITM3 out of human cells allowed the H1N1 swine-flu virus to run wild, but when their levels were artificially increased, replication of the viruses was completely blocked.

Professor Stephen Elledge, from Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA, who led the research, said: "We've uncovered the first-line defence in how our bodies fight the flu virus.

"The protein is there to stop the flu. Every cell has a constitutive immune response that is ready for the virus. If we get rid of that, the virus has a heyday."

The proteins are believed to redirect the traffic of viral particles entering cells and route them to a disposal area where they can be degraded and rendered harmless.

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph