Researchers watch T-cells fight off an infection in realtime

This capability can significantly boost the effectiveness of drugs while cutting down their research time.

Upto now, researchers and biologists have had to study the pathology of a virus through indirect means such as studying their antibodies. Tracking the viruses themselves have been in the realm of dreams, until now.

Researchers have finally found a way to study the progress of a virus in real time. By combining a laser, multiphoton microscopy and fluorescence, a team of scientists have managed to monitor the influenza virus in a mouse’s trachea while its immune system responded to the intruders.

As you can imagine the scene was very similar to that of a battlefield. Although the mouse’s T-cells took nearly 5 days to respond to the infection, but once they got to the job they were thoroughly merciless. On the 7th day, the infection slow down dramatically.

Having slaughtered the infected cells, they even remained at a heightened state for a few days in order to keep watch for signs of new threats. Although all of these actions are routine, during any infection of the body, this is the first time when scientists were able to see the action.

The study has taught a couple of valuable lessons to scientists: a lower dose of virus does not lead to fewer T-cells fighting back. Furthermore, although virus attacks can affect the immune system, they don’t define the subsequent response from T-cells.

The ability to monitor virus attacks in realtime is a significant boost towards creating more effective treatment, since researchers can now trigger stronger and swifter responses from the immune system.

That lingering cough or flue that you have been struggling with can now be overcome more quickly and effectively.


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