Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Novel coronavirus well-adapted to humans, susceptible to immunotherapy

19.02.2013
The new coronavirus that has emerged in the Middle East is well-adapted to infecting humans but could potentially be treated with immunotherapy, according to a study to be published on February 19 in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

The study indicates that the virus HCoV-EMC can penetrate the lining of the passageways in the lung and evade the innate immune system as easily as a cold virus can, signs that HCoV-EMC is well-equipped for infecting human cells. The study also reveals that the virus is susceptible to treatment with interferons, components of the immune system that have been used successfully to treat other viral diseases, opening a possible mode of treatment in the event of a large-scale outbreak.

"Surprisingly, this coronavirus grows very efficiently on human epithelial cells," says co-author Volker Thiel of The Institute of Immunobiology at Kantonal Hospital in St. Gallen, Switzerland. Thiel says these new data indicate that although HCoV-EMC may have jumped from animals to humans very recently, it is just as well adapted to infecting the human respiratory tract as other, more familiar human coronaviruses, including the SARS virus and the common cold virus, HCoV-229E.

HCoV-EMC first came to light in June when it was isolated from a man in Saudi Arabia who died from a severe respiratory infection and kidney failure. Since that time, public health officials have identified an additional 10 infected persons, nine of whom had traveled in the Middle East and one who had recent contact with an infected person. The emergence of HCoV-EMC, which is related to the SARS virus, has raised concern that it may eventually lead to a pandemic much like the SARS pandemic of 2002-2003, which is estimated to have sickened over 8,000 people and killed 774 worldwide.

For the mBio® study, Thiel and his colleagues tested how well HCoV-EMC could infect and multiply in the entryways to the human lung using cultured bronchial cells manipulated to mimic the airway lining. The lining of the lung, or epithelium, represents an important first barrier against respiratory viruses, but they apparently don't put up a big fight against HCoV-EMC, says Thiel. He and his colleagues found that human airway epithelial cells are highly susceptible to HCoV-EMC infection and that the virus is able to multiply at a faster initial rate than the SARS virus.

"The other thing we found is that the viruses [HCoV-EMC, SARS, and the common cold virus] are all similar in terms of host responses: they don't provoke a huge innate immune response," Thiel says. This is an indication that HCoV-EMC is already well adapted to the human host and that the virus uses that same strategy other coronaviruses use for evading the host's non-specific immune mechanisms.

The authors asked themselves whether boosting this weak immune response might diminish the virus' ability to infect airway epithelial cells. They found that pre-treating the cells with lambda-type interferons, proteins that are released by host cells in response to infection and enable communication between cells to mount an immune response, significantly reduced the number of infected cells. This is encouraging from a treatment standpoint, note the authors, since interferons have also shown a good deal of promise for treating SARS and another viral illness, Hepatitis C.

Thiel and co-author Ronald Dijkman emphasize that their work with HCoV-EMC would not have been possible without the efforts of many different research groups from Switzerland, Germany, The Netherlands, and Denmark.

Ongoing collaboration is crucial, they say. Future research to head off outbreaks of HCoV-EMC and other emerging diseases requires cooperation and trust among scientists and health agencies, a goal that is not always achieved. The future of this virus is uncertain, Thiel points out, but access to samples from a wider range of patients and epidemiological work could answer some fundamental questions, including where the virus is coming from and what the true prevalence of the virus is.

"We don't know whether the cases we observe are the tip of the iceberg," says Thiel. "Or whether many more people are infected without showing severe symptoms."

mBio® is an open access online journal published by the American Society for Microbiology to make microbiology research broadly accessible. The focus of the journal is on rapid publication of cutting-edge research spanning the entire spectrum of microbiology and related fields. It can be found online at http://mBio.asm.org.

The American Society for Microbiology is the largest single life science society, composed of over 39,000 scientists and health professionals. ASM's mission is to advance the microbiological sciences as a vehicle for understanding life processes and to apply and communicate this knowledge for the improvement of health and environmental and economic well-being worldwide.

Jim Sliwa | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.asm.org/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>