Immune system

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Covid-19 detection

New blood test measures immunity against SARS-CoV-2 and its variants

The Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) and EPFL teamed up to develop a new test that’s sensitive enough to measure the amount of SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies present in the bloodstream. The…

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Cancer 'avatars'

Predicting immunotherapy outcomes with mini tumours

Miniature tumours in the lab are able to predict whether the corresponding real-life patients will benefit from immunotherapy. “We’ve solved a major problem many scientists had been facing:…

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Support for T cells

Improving immune response against severe viral infections

Researchers have identified a way to improve the immune response in the face of severe viral infections. It is widely known that severe viral infections and cancer cause impairments to the immune…

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Immune system

Fundamental advance in understanding T cell immunity

Monash University researchers have provided a fundamental advance regarding how T cells become activated when encountering pathogens such as viruses.

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Coronavirus research

Novel defense mechanism for SARS-CoV-2 discovered

Scientists from Hokkaido University have discovered a novel defensive response to SARS-CoV-2 that involves the viral pattern recognition receptor RIG-I. Upregulating expression of this protein could…

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Coronavirus research

'Covid-19 atlas' uncovers differing immune responses in asymptomatic versus severe cases

The largest study of its kind in the UK has identified differences in the immune response to Covid-19 between people with no symptoms, compared to those suffering a more serious reaction to the…

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Helminths

Worm infestation in the gut can lower viral defenses

Infection with parasitic intestinal worms (helminths) can apparently cause sexually transmitted viral in-fections to be much more severe elsewhere in the body. This is shown by a study led by the Universities of Cape Town and Bonn. According to the study, helminth-infected mice developed significantly more severe symptoms after infection with a genital herpes viruses (Herpes Simplex Virus). The…

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The stronger sex after all

Why women may be better equipped to fight Covid-19

When it comes to Covid-19, women seem to be the stronger sex, suffering severe disease at about half the rate as men, but the reason for this has been elusive. Now a chance experiment by an ophthalmology researcher at Duke Health has led to an insight: Women have more of a certain type of immune cell that fights infections in mucosal tissue, and these immune cells amass in the lungs, poised to…

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Cancer research

'Gene ferry' improves immune therapies

Genetically enhancing a patient's immune cells by adding therapeutic genes to them outside the body is regarded as a promising new treatment approach in oncology. However, the production of these therapeutic cells using viruses is not only expensive but time-consuming. Researchers at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have developed an innovative non-viral vector that can efficiently…

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After overcoming a Corona infection

Covid-19: Study on long-term antibody protection

Does overcoming a SARS-CoV-2 infection protect against reinfection? The “Rhineland Study”, a population-based study conducted by DZNE in the Bonn area, is now providing new findings in this regard. Blood samples taken last year indicate that an important component of immunity – the levels of specific neutralizing antibodies against the coronavirus - had dropped in most of the study…

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Bioorganic chemistry

Why M. tuberculosis is so resistant to drugs and immune defenses

A consortium of researchers from Russia, Belarus, Japan, Germany and France led by the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology have uncovered the way in which Mycobacterium tuberculosis survives in iron-deficient conditions by utilizing rubredoxin B, a protein from a rubredoxin family that play an important role in adaptation to changing environmental conditions.

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Immune response in pregnant and lactating women

Mothers pass on Covid-19 protection to their babies after vaccination

In the largest study of its kind to date, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard have found the new mRNA Covid-19 vaccines to be highly effective in producing antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus in pregnant and lactating women. They also demonstrated the vaccines confer protective immunity to newborns…

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Gesundheit!

Why stress relief is also allergy relief

Increased allergic reactions may be tied to the corticotropin-releasing stress hormone (CRH), suggests a new study. These findings may help clarify the mechanism by which CRH induces proliferation of mast cells (MC) – agents involved in the development of allergies in the human nasal cavity.

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SARS-CoV-2 neutralising antibodies

Covid-19 immunity may last from days to decades

Scientists from Singapore found that antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 wane at different rates, lasting for mere days in some individuals, while remaining present in others for decades. The study, published in The Lancet Microbe, shows that the severity of the infection could be a deciding factor in having longer-lasting antibodies. Individuals with low levels of neutralising antibodies may still be…

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Airborne attack

Pollen increase Covid-19 risk

When airborne pollen levels are higher, increased SARS-CoV-2 infection rates can be observed. These results were determined by a large-scale study conducted by an international team headed by researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Helmholtz Zentrum München. Members of high-risk groups could protect themselves by watching pollen forecasts and wearing dust filter masks.

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Cancer vaccine research

Tackling tumors with two types of virus

An international research group led by the University of Basel has developed a promising strategy for therapeutic cancer vaccines. Using two different viruses as vehicles, they administered specific tumor components in experiments on mice with cancer in order to stimulate their immune system to attack the tumor. The approach is now being tested in clinical studies.

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Immune response or breast cancer?

Swollen lymph nodes after Covid-19 vaccination: what women should know

For many women, swollen lymph nodes are a red flag pointing to breast cancer – but may also be a normal immune reaction to a Covid-19 vaccination. So, to avoid anxiety or downright refusal of the vaccine, the Society of Breast Imaging Patient Care and Delivery Committee has developed a comprehensive resource to help patients understand the most important facts and guide them in making the most…

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"Faces" of the disease

Covid-19: researchers identify at least 5 variants

According to current studies, the Covid-19 disease which is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus comprises at least five different variants. These differ in how the immune system responds to the infection. Researchers from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and the University of Bonn, together with other experts from Germany, Greece and the Netherlands, present these findings…

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Dangerous immune response

New insight on severe virus attacks on the lungs

In some cases, immune cells in the lungs can contribute to worsening a virus attack. In a new study, researchers at Karolinska Institutet describe how different kinds of immune cells, called macrophages, develop in the lungs and which of them may be behind severe lung diseases. The study, which was published in Immunity, may contribute to future treatments for Covid-19, among other diseases.

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Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay

Startup develops breakthrough IgG antibody test for Covid-19

ZTA Biotech, a Budapest-based biotech startup, has developed a Covid-19 antibody (IgG) test using the ELISA protocol. This new detection method represents a great step forward in determining if patients have had a coronavirus infection and if they might still have immunity to the disease. Early results have proven 100% in specificity after testing 280 samples, and 100% sensitivity by testing 260…

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Natural variation impacts virus-relevant proteins

How SARS-CoV-2 benefits from helpers within the human body

Like all viruses, the novel coronavirus is dependent on help from the human host cell. Proteins are the functional units of the cell and enable the virus to enter the host cell or help the virus to replicate. Scientists from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and from the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH), along with colleagues from the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States, have…

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