Immune Response May Cause Virus-Induced Neurologic Damage

A new study suggests that neurologic damage following acute viral infections may be attributed to the body’s excessive immune response to the infection. Researchers identified a specific population of T cells called CD8+ T cells that became overactivated during viral infection and likely caused the damage. The research was conducted using a mouse model of Zika virus infection, but researchers believe the findings may apply to other viruses. The study also experimented with an antibody that blocked a particular receptor and showed promising results in preventing Zika-associated paralysis in mice. Although the study advances basic science, further research using other viruses and models is needed before any clinical applications can be made.

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