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新型疫苗将有助于保护新生儿免受巨细胞病毒感染

最近来自卡蒂夫大学的研究人员开发出一种新型疫苗将可能帮助新生儿免受巨细胞病毒(CMV)的侵扰。CMV是一类常见的疱疹病毒,包括了单纯疱疹病毒、巴尔病毒等致病病毒。据统计美国大约50%到80%的美国成人都曾感染过类似病毒。尽管CMV一般都是无毒或者毒性较低,但是胎儿在出生前感染这类病毒将会造成严重后果。目前美国每150个婴儿中就会有一个出生时携带CMV病毒,根据美国CDC的统计,这些婴儿一般都会带有永久性残疾,如失明、失聪等。一般中性粒细胞被认为在杀死入侵的细菌过程中起着重要作用,不过最近一些科学家研究表明这些白细胞在对抗病毒感染的过程中也有重要作用。

来自卡蒂夫大学的Dr. Ian Humphreys介绍说它们的研究表明中性粒细胞会分泌一种名为TRAIL的蛋白杀死被病毒感染的细胞以保证机体器官的安全。Dr. Ian Humphreys等人据此开发了这种新型疫苗,通过将中性粒细胞靶向输送至病毒感染部位来达到治疗效果。今后这一疫苗也可能用于艾滋病、肝炎病毒等病毒的治疗。

详细英文报道:

An experimental vaccine using a novel defense mechanism may eventually help protect people from a common virus that affects more than half of the U.S. population and causes congenital birth defects in some cases.

Using the most common form of white blood cell, called neutrophils, scientists from Cardiff University have found a way to quell cytomegalovirus, or CMV.

CMV is a common infection that is part of the herpesvirus group, which includes the herpes simplex viruses, the chickenpox-causing varicella zoster virus and the Epstein-Barr virus, which causes infectious mononucleosis, also known as mono. About 50% to 80% of U.S. adults are infected with CMV by the time they are 40 years old.

Though usually harmless, congenital CMV can cause serious disease in babies who were infected with the virus before birth. About 1 in 150 children in the U.S. are born with congenital CMV, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These babies are born with permanent disabilities, including blindness, deafness and brain damage.

Neutrophils have been known to be important in killing bacterial infections, and recently, some scientists have been studying the use of these white blood cells in fighting viral infections.

“Our study shows that neutrophils protect our organs from CMV by producing a protein called TRAIL that can directly kill virus-infected cells,” researcher Dr. Ian Humphreys, from Cardiff University School of Medicine, said in a statement. “Our body attracts the neutrophils to where the virus is replicating by producing the protein IL-22, which acts as a homing signal.”

Humphreys and his colleagues are developing a vaccine that ideally would send antiviral neutrophils to the first site of infection. The findings may also have implications for other destructive viruses such as flu, hepatitis and potentially HIV.

The research–which was conducted in collaboration with The Wellcome Trust, Sanger Institute, University of Oxford and La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology in California–appears in the journal Cell Host & Microbe.

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