An international team of researchers has discovered that respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a common cold virus causing bronchiolitis in children, can act as a ‘hit and hide’ virus. It was thought that the virus could only survive in the body for a few days, but these new results show that the virus can survive for many months or years, perhaps causing long-term effects on health, such as damage to the lungs.
The research, published in this month’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, was a joint project between Imperial College London, St Mary’s Hospital, London and the Ruhr-Universitat Bochum, Germany.
Professor Peter Openshaw, from Imperial College London and St Mary’s Hospital, and one of the papers authors, comments: “These studies show that RSV is a ‘hit and hide’ virus, rather like HIV, herpes or some hepatitis viruses. The symptoms seem to go away but the virus is just hiding, waiting for a chance to re-emerge and begin infecting other people.”
Tony Stephenson | alfa
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