Researchers eliminate chronic virus infection

Scientists at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology demonstrated that they were able to eliminate a chronic virus infection by blocking an immune messenger molecule with a simple antibody. The researchers say that their work could have a profound impact on chronic virus infections such as hepatitis C and AIDS, noting that they were able to eliminate the virus rather than simply dampen its effect. The key to their work was blocking the interleukin-10 messenger molecule receptor, which suppresses the immune response to hep C and HIV.

"We thought, 'what if we try to correct what the immune system seems to be doing wrong in response to many chronic viral infections?'" said team leader Matthias von Herrath, M.D. "So we unleashed the power of the immune system by using an antibody to block the IL-10 receptor. This taught the immune system to take the right action and fight the disease."

- see the release on their work

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