By figuring out how a common virus hides from the immune system, scientists have identified a potential vaccine to prevent sometimes deadly respiratory infections in humans.
The research was conducted using the human metapneumovirus (HMPV). The virus was discovered in 2001, but follow-up research has shown that it has circulated in humans for at least 50 years and is considered around the world to be the No. 2 cause of respiratory infections that can be especially dangerous for infants and the elderly.
“This is exciting because RSV was discovered in 1953, but we still don’t have a vaccine. The virus inhibits the innate immune response, and can infect the same person again and again,” said Jianrong Li, senior author of the study and a professor of virology in The Ohio State University Department of Veterinary Biosciences and member of Ohio State’s Infectious Diseases Institute.
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