London, Aug 24 (ANI): A research team led by Indian-origin scientist claims to have identified a cellular molecule that not only helps recognize viruses that cause respiratory problems but also direct cells to produce defensive immune response.
Dr Santanu Bose and colleagues have identified a cellular molecule, called NOD2, that detects respiratory viruses and can instruct cells to defend against them.
The team from The University of Texas Health Science Centre at San Antonio hope that the new discovery could lead to therapies for human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza A (commonly known as flu).
"This molecule could be used to boost host immune defenses and stimulate vaccine efficacy against RSV and influenza A, especially among high-risk individuals," Nature quoted senior author Dr Santanu Bose, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology as saying.
The study showed that mice lacking the sensor survive for only 10 days after infection, compared with up to eight weeks for normal animals.
Researchers said that identifying this sensor and understanding its key role could result in therapies that activate the NOD2 gene during or prior to infection, leading to enhanced protective immunity.
The NOD2 sensor also has the potential to recognize other viruses, such as West Nile virus, yellow fever, Ebola and rabies.
The findings appear in the journal Nature Immunology. (ANI)