Hybrid Virus to Cause Serious Immune System Damages


by Naba Batool

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According to researchers, two of the most common respiratory viruses can be fused together to make a hybrid virus which can then infect the immune systems and lung cells. This viral cooperation is considered a medical breakthrough because it was not observed before.

This can significantly help scientists to understand the effects of co-infections on worsening the already existing diseases or sometimes causing severe health complications.

Dr. Joanne Haney, currently serving as the MRC - University of Glasgow Center for Virus Research, said, "Respiratory viruses exist as part of a community of many viruses that all target the same region of the body, like an ecological niche. We need to understand how these infections occur within the context of one another to gain a fuller picture of the biology of each individual virus.


In order to investigate this the researchers infected human lung cells with both of the viruses, forming a tree-shaped hybrid virus. Dr. Pablo who has supervised this research said that “This kind of hybrid virus has never been described before. 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.

This has led to a theoretical belief that multiple infections can become disastrous for individual health. “We need to know if this happens only with influenza and RSV, or does it extend to other virus combinations as well,” said Murcia. “My guess is that it does. And, I would hypothesize that it extends to animal [viruses] as well. This is just the start of what I think will be a long journey of hopefully very interesting discoveries.