Studying mice with a variety of viral infections, scientists at the School of Medicine have demonstrated a way to dial up the body’s innate immune defenses while simultaneously attacking a protein that many viruses rely on to replicate. The findings reveal previously unknown weapons in the body’s antiviral immune arsenal and provide guidelines for designing drugs that could be effective against a broad range of viruses.
A new study led by Michael J. Holtzman, MD, at the School of Medicine suggests that a fundamental antiviral defense mechanism is intact in asthma. This indicates that another aspect of the immune system must explain the difficulty people with asthma have when they encounter respiratory viruses.
The Ebola virus, in the midst of its biggest outbreak on record, is a master at evading the body’s immune system. But researchers at the School of Medicine and elsewhere have learned one way the virus dodges the body’s antiviral defenses, providing important insight that could lead to new therapies.
Innate differences in immunity can be detected at birth, according to new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. First author Kaharu Sumino, MD, and her colleagues say babies with a better innate response to viruses have fewer respiratory illnesses in the first year of life.
Results of a new study from Washington University’s Drug Discovery Center demonstrate the feasibility of a novel strategy in drug discovery: screening large numbers of existing drugs — often already approved for other uses — to see which ones activate genes that boost natural immunity.