Chronic viral infections are characterized by a reduced responsiveness of T lymphocytes; a process also termed T cell exhaustion. The tumor necrosis factor (TNF-alpha) has been shown to be critically involved in this exhaustion process. Consequently, our invention suggests the use of anti-TNFalpha strategies, i.e. either blockade of the TNF-receptor (TNFR) binding side or its enzymatic activity by existing drugs (e.g. Infliximab, Etanercept) for the general treatment of persisting viral infections with the aim to restore T cell function. Proof for the success of this approach has been delivered by the LCMV mouse model and the treatment of HIV patients, and is in addition supported by results from studies in systems biology. There is still an unmet need for improved treatment strategies for patients suffering from persisting viral infection. As mentioned above, the effectiveness of an anti-TNF-alpha strategy has been demonstrated on the example of the LCMV model and HIV patients. It is most likely that this new therapeutic approach also applies to the broad market of persisting viral infections in general, including herpes and Hepatitis.
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Dipl.-Ing. Alfred Schillert
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