Sunday, October 16, 2011

Viruses that love bacteria

Speaking of defeating the immune system (problem set 3)...
Scientists are undergoing research on viruses such as polio and a reovirus that use normally useful bacteria found in the human gut to get past the body's immune defense using lipopolysaccharides on the surface of the bacteria. As a test, they removed these bacteria from the gut of a mouse, inoculated the mouse with polio, and found that the virus was hardly able to replicate.
This finding challenges the reputation of many previously-classified "benign" bacteria in the gut, but overall the researchers believe that the help these bacteria provide to the body outweighs the increased risk of viral infection.

-Emily M

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