A group of Canadian researchers at the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry have discovered a common virus that is related to AIDS, influenza, hepatitis C, West Nile disease and Dengue fever, and is able to delay death and thus allows the viral disease to spread throughout the body. This is because certain viruses block the pathways in cells that lead to cell suicide. The demise of the cell is delayed or blocked all together.
When viruses enter the body they are resilient to death. They then replicate themselves and the immune system then prompts the infected cells to commit suicide. If the research proves true there could be numerous long-term positive ramifications that could allow doctors to destroy viruses before they spread.
According to their research cells that are infected with rubella virus, cell suicide is delayed or blocked. They also discovered that the capsid protein, which was believed to function as a building block only actually plays a key role in stopping the process that triggers cell suicide. This protein absorbs the Bax protein which invokes the cell to commit suicide.
“This discovery was surprising but gratifying at the same time. Previously, no one had given any thought to any potential function of this capsid protein.”
The team’s findings have been published in the journal PLoS Pathogens.