José Manuel NievesSEGUIR Updated: Save Send news by mail electrónicoTu name *

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At this stage of the pandemic COVID-19, scientists around the world are trying to develop, to forced marches, vaccinations, and treatments able to immunize or reduce the symptoms of the disease. What is certain, however, and despite good preliminary results, is that we still don’t have neither one nor the other.

Now, a critical discovery about how the virus, or at least a good part of them, manages to avoid the immune system of the body and infect their victims, it could accelerate the process.

The front of a team of researchers from the Universities of Aarhus, in Denmark, Oxford, Uk, and Gothenburg, in Sweden, the virologist Danish Søren Riis Paludan has succeeded, in effect, take a decisive step to understand the tactics used by the virus when they attack the immune system.

In a new study, published in “Journal of Experimental Medicine”, Paludan and his team explain how they have managed to discover the way in which the herpes simplex virus manages to evade the body’s defenses to infect the brain. A rare infection, but with a high rate of mortality.

“In our study -the researcher explains – we find that the herpes simplex virus is able to inhibit a protein in the cells, known as STING, which is activated whenever there is a threat . With the STING off, also the body’s immune system is inhibited. That is to say, that the virus stops the body’s defense system, responsible for preventing us to fall sick. And other viruses also make use of the same strategy”.

Parallels with the SARS-CoV-2

Although the work was focused on the herpes virus, Paludan asserts that there are parallels with the coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19. In fact, the same protein is also turned off by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

For the virologist Danish, “this means that we have found an Achilles heel in the virus and the way in which you get to cause infection in the body. Our results lead us to assume that if we can prevent the virus from blocking the protein STING, then we can prevent it from replicating. And that would pave the way towards new treatments of herpes, the flu, and also the coronavirus”.

Paludan explains that “previous studies have already shown that the coronavirus inhibits the STING the same way the Herpes virus. And that means that we have found a common denominator for various types of viruses , and that will be an important element for the development of treatments.”