Los Angeles, April 12 (IANS) Interrupting for a short period a protein responsible for immune functions can help boost the body’s immunity against viral infections like HIV and hepatitis C, says a new study.
The study conducted by scientists at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) shows that temporarily blocking type-1 interferons (IFN-1), a protein critical to immune response, helps the body clear itself of chronic infections.
Published in the April 12 edition of Science, the finding suggests new approaches to treating persistent viral infections like HIV and hepatitis C, reports Science Daily.
“We suspect that halting IFN-1 activity is like pushing the refresh button,” said lead author Elizabeth Wilson, a UCLA postdoctoral researcher.
“It gives the immune system time to reprogram itself and control the infection.”
IFN-1 is released by cells in response to disease-causing organisms. It enables cells to communicate with each other and orchestrate an immune response against infections.
Constant IFN-1 signalling is also a trademark of chronic viral infection and disease progression, particularly in HIV.