Fighting Hidden Viruses Is Key
A major obstacle to fighting chronic infections like HIV, Epstein-Barr virus, glandular fever (which is associated with lymphoma), and others is the viruses' ability to "hide" from the body's immune system. According to a discovery published in Nature Immunology, an international team of scientists have located a type of cell that can find and fight these hidden infections.
Called follicular cytotoxic T cells, these cells can enter B cell follicles and destroy viruses. According to researchers, the numbers and destroying ability of these cells in the body must be increased to effectively fight chronic infections. They hope to, "potentially transfer these specialized super potent killer T cells into patients, or we could treat patients with proteins that can drag these specialized killer T-cells into the right spots, specifically to the hot spots where HIV can hide on antiviral treatment."
Dr. Di Yu, one of the study’s lead researchers, hopes that human trials to develop new treatments will begin within 5 years.
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