Imaging technology helps fight bad cold virus

New York, Dec 31 : Is your toddler suffering from bad cold again? It could be respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

A new high-end imaging technology studying the structure of the RSV virion and its activity in living cells could help researchers unlock the secrets of the virus - how it enters cells, replicates, how many genomes it inserts into its hosts and perhaps why certain lung cells escape the infection relatively unscathed.

"We want to develop tools that would allow us to get at how the virus really works," said Philip Santangelo, associate professor at Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University.

"We really need to be able to follow the infection in a single living cell without affecting how the virus infects its hosts, and this technology should allow us to do that," he added.

Using direct stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (dSTORM) imaging, they were able to characterise some aspects of the virus particle itself at super-resolution, down to 20 nanometers.

The research team, which included scientists from Vanderbilt University and Emory University, used a probe technology that quickly attaches to RNA within cells. The probe uses multiple fluorophores to indicate the presence of the viral RNA, allowing the researchers to see where it goes in host cells - and to watch as infectious particles leave the cells to spread the infection, said the study published in the journal ACS Nano.

"Being able to see the genome and the progeny RNA that comes from the genome with the probes we use really give us much more insight into the replication cycle. This gives us much more information about what the virus is really doing. If we can visualise the entry, assembly and replication of the virus, that would allow us to decide what to go after to fight the virus," Santangelo added.

For some children, especially premature babies and those with underlying health conditions, RSV can lead to pneumonia and bronchitis - which can require hospitalisation and have long-term consequences.

While RSV will be the first target for the work, the researchers believe the imaging technique they developed could be used to study other RNA viruses, including influenza and Ebola.

Among the mysteries that the researchers would like to tackle is why certain lung cells are severely infected - while others appear to escape ill effects.

--IANS (Posted on 31-12-2013)

health-news headlines

Can too much exercise be a bad thing?

New method to treat cocaine addiction effectively

Aspirin can lower colorectal cancer risks for people with specific gene

Aspirin may cut down colon cancer risks too

Prenatal smoking linked to enhanced aggressive behavior in children

Novel compound could halt cocaine addiction and relapse behaviors

Red meat could up heart disease risk

Vitamin D supplements have little effect on risk of falls among older people: Lancet

Marijuana use could up heart complications in young, middle-aged adults

Acupuncture improves activation of functional brain areas in stroke sufferers

Binge drinking could make you overeat

Blood test that can predict who will suffer from arthritis to be available in 5 yrs

Quick Links: Goa | Munnar | Pondicherry | Free Yearly Horoscope '2014


Your e-mail:

Your Full Name:

Type verification image:
verification image, type it in the box


Back to Top