An Aarhus University study demonstrates the influenza virus is able to evade detection from the immune system by masking itself and avoiding the system’s mechanism against invading viruses.
Several years ago, scientists found that the immune system tracks invading infections and warns the body when viruses begin to spread through cells. Now, scientists have found that influenza is able to hide from the immune system.
"The virus contains a protein that masks the virus entering the cell,” associate professor Christian Holm, from the Aarhus Department of Biomedicine, said. “In this way, the influenza virus can spread more easily before the immune system recognizes that it is a virus and attempts to fight it.”
The scientists hope that this research, published in Nature Communications journal, will be useful for creating more accurate treatments for chronic inflammation (like rheumatoid arthritis) and influenza infections.
"This indicates that the recognition mechanism in the immune system that the influenza virus evades is generally important for the body's ability to defend itself against viruses,” Holm said. “It is therefore important basic research knowledge for us. The more knowledge we have about why a virus becomes dangerous, the easier it is to develop treatments.”