Influenza is able to mask itself, so that the virus is not initially detected by our immune system. This is the result of new research from Aarhus University. The researchers behind the study hope that the discovery can be used to develop better treatment against influenza and chronic inflammation conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Some years ago researchers discovered that the immune system can already track viruses and alert the body as soon as a virus enters human cells to multiply. But new research now reveals that the influenza virus cheats the mechanism and is thus able to circumvent the body's advanced defence system.
"The virus contains a protein that masks the virus entering the cell. In this way, the influenza virus can spread more easily before the immune system recognises that it is a virus and attempts to fight it," says Associate Professor Christian Holm from the Department of Biomedicine at Aarhus University.''
Together with Professor Søren R. Paludan, he has headed the research project, which has also comprised contributions from other researchers at Aarhus University and from a number of American universities. Their discovery has recently been published in the scientific journal Nature Communications.
Influenza virus can hide from the immune system