Through the use of an animal model that they developed, researchers at Utah State University in collaboration with Saint Louis University, have come up with a new strategy that has been touted as being able to prevent the adenovirus from spreading in humans. The research that details this finding was first documented in the 20th issue of the PLOS Pathogens Journal.
It has been medically established that the adenovirus has the ability to lead to colds and other respiratory infections. Although these conditions are often not serious, their effects can be prolonged in immunocompromised patients. This is especially the case in children who are undergoing treatment for leukemia through the use of bone marrow transplant. The adenovirus in immunocompromised patients in this case will replicate and make it increasingly difficult for such a child to have a healthy recovery as compared to normal conditions and situations.
Concerns With Adenovirus In Immunocompromised Patients
The research that was led by William Wold who is a senior author of the research found that if left unchecked the adenovirus could be of significant concern. The researchers found that Type 1 interferon is very important in the multiplication of adenovirus. The researchers discovered that disruption of Type 1 interferon in animals infected with the adenovirus had significantly higher amounts of adenovirus replication in their bodies. Interferon is part of the body’s natural immune response against invading viruses and other pathogens. Cells that are fighting off a virus will release interferon to signal other nearby cells to start fighting off the incoming pathogen.
The process was replicated by turning off the STAT2 gene that is present in hamsters found in Syria. This led to the disruption in the formation of Type 1 interferon as a result of the interrupted cell signaling process. This was compared to a group of control animals found in the wild. It is worth noting that both the groups had adenovirus. However, on analyzing the results, it was found that the Syrian hamsters that were genetically modified had a one hundred to one thousand higher virus count than the animals within the control group. While acknowledging the numerous studies that have been conducted in this area, it is also important to appreciate the fact that there is still a lot to be understood when it comes to adenovirus replication in human beings. This is what motivated the researchers.
The success that was achieved in the research has opened up other areas of research with the aim of understanding human anatomy and how diseases develop. The research has further been instrumental in forecasting future reactions that could not be carried out in previous situations. Prior to this research finding, the doctors did not have any animal model on which to conduct their research.
The Syrian hamsters were also found to be viable models to be used in the research of other infectious diseases of viral nature such as the Ebola virus. This is due to the readily available genetic composition that could be used to indicate different results in different situations and thus lead to the creation of treatment options. Other diseases that could be studied include Hanta as well as Dengue Fever.