Studying West Nile virus infection in mice, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that an antiviral compound tightens the blood-brain barrier, making it harder for the virus to invade the brain.
A new center at the School of Medicine will help scientists use the power of the immune system to fight infections and cancers. The Center for Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Programs is part of BioMed21, Washington University’s initiative to accelerate basic science discoveries into improved diagnosis and treatment for patients.
Scientists have identified a new way that some viruses protect themselves from the immune system’s efforts to stop infections, a finding that may make new approaches to treating viral infections possible.
In an effort to learn why some viruses such as influenza, Ebola and West Nile are so lethal, a team of U.S. researchers plans an $18.3 million comprehensive effort to model how humans respond to these viral pathogens. Participants include Washington University’s Michael Diamond, a West Nile expert.
Viruses often spread through the brain in patchwork patterns, infecting some cells but missing others. New research at the School of Medicine helps explain why: Natural immune defenses that resist viral infection are turned on in some brain cells but switched off in others. The white arrows in the picture highlight infected cells in a mouse brain.
West Nile virus expert Michael Diamond discusses the potentially record-setting 2012 West Nile virus infection season and describes ways to reduce chances of infection.
The American Academy of Microbiology has named three Washington University faculty members as fellows: Herbert W. “Skip” Virgin, M.D., Ph.D., Himadri B. Pakrasi, Ph.D., and Michael Diamond, M.D., Ph.D.