As reported by the BBC News, scientists at the Medical Research Council have found that antibodies can pass into cells and fight viruses from within, meaning the common cold could soon be a thing of the past.
This new discovery, by Dr Leo James transforms our previous understanding of our immunity to viral diseases such as the common cold. It ultimately shows that antibodies are able to enter cells, and once inside, can trigger a response. This response it led by a protein called TRIM21 which pulls the virus into a disposal system used by the cell to get rid of unwanted material.
Researchers believe this process happens rapidly – even before the viruses can harm the cell.
Dr James said: “Doctors have plenty of antibiotics to fight bacterial infections but few antiviral drugs. Although these are early days, and we don’t yet know whether all viruses are cleared by this mechanism, we are excited that our discoveries may open multiple avenues for developing new antiviral drugs.”
Sir Greg Winter, deputy director of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, said: “This research is not only a leap in our understanding of how and where antibodies work, but more generally in our understanding of immunity and infection.”
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