Hybrid virus capable of evading immune system observed for first time
It needs no mention that viruses are one of the prominent microbes that infect us, especially when the world is recovering from COVID pandemic. It is an understatement that everyone should be protecting themselves from viral infections.
In case of an infection, body's immune system swings into action. But a hybrid virus, formed due to combination of two viruses, and capable of evading human immune system has been observed for the first time. Researchers believe that co-infections, that is, infection due to two viruses can result in significantly severe disease.
Researchers from Glasgow University deliberately infected human lung cells with two types of viruses, one caused influenza A, while the other was called respiratory syncytial virus. In other words, the lung cells were co-infected.
Contrary to researchers' belief that the viruses would compete, they fused together to form a palm-tree shaped hybrid virus.
“This kind of hybrid virus has never been described before,” said Prof Pablo Murcia, who supervised the research, published in Nature Microbiology. “We are talking about viruses from two completely different families combining together with the genomes and the external proteins of both viruses. It is a new type of virus pathogen.”
Professor Murcia was quoted by The Guardian.
The hybrid virus, once formed, was able to bypass antibodies even when they appeared to perform their function.