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Sunday, February 17, 2008

 

Genetic Breakthrough Creates Immunity to Viruses

‘Scientists at Canada’s McGill University have discovered a way to boost an organism’s natural anti-virus defenses, effectively making its cells immune to influenza and other viruses. In effect, this makes the cells immune to flu and other viruses.

The researchers performed their study with mice, and knocked out two key genes that repress production of interferon. Without these repressor genes, the mouse cells produced much higher levels of interferon, which effectively blocked viruses from reproducing. The researchers tested the process on influenza virus, encephalomyocarditis virus, vesicular stomatitis virus and Sindbis virus.

“People have been worried for years about potential new viral pandemics, such as avian influenzas,” Dr. Sonenberg, the study’s lead author, said in a press release issued by McGill University. “If we might now have the means to develop a new therapy to fight flu, the potential is huge.”‘




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