New Information On Virus Goes Against The Age-Old Theory

by Medindia Content Team on  August 22, 2005 at 7:23 PM General Health News   - G J E 4
New Information On Virus Goes Against The Age-Old Theory
A researcher from National Institute of Health (NIH) ad brought forward a new theory that challenges the age-old theory concerning virus and body's immunity.

NIH's Polly Matzinger has developed the "danger model," suggesting that the immune system is more concerned with damage detected on the basis of a biological cell's death than with the introduction of foreign invaders, such as viruses. If Matzinger is correct, then decades of scientific and medical diagnostic thinking could be in jeopardy.

Viruses cause a number of diseases, from the common cold, to herpes, to AIDS. Even some types of cancer have been linked to viruses. Prior to Matzinger's model, the common assumption was that the body's cells recognize substances or germs that do not come from within the body. The recognition triggers the immune system's attempt to eliminate the invader. But what the immune system actually does, according to Matzinger, is discriminate between things that are dangerous and things that are not. And it does this by defining anything that does damage as dangerous. Through this selectivity process, the immune system does not respond to things that don't do damage.

Examples she uses to support her thesis that the body recognizes some invading substances are not dangerous include the development of a fetus during a woman's pregnancy and the production of milk by lactating women.

The researcher and others had made an attempt to profile the host-virus system using the electrical engineering concepts of signal and image processing.

Ultimately, the interdisciplinary team hopes their efforts will provide a quantitative method that derives a characteristic profile or fingerprint from the IIS of any host-virus system. If their method can achieve results in hours instead of days, their techniques could be used in clinical and field settings to quickly identify known viruses, or to map unknown viruses to existing profiles to better predict their behavior and start appropriate treatment.

Source: Newswise

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