Immune system

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Rare liver disease

New test improves diagnosis of autoimmune hepatitis

Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is a chronic liver inflammation that is triggered by an immunological malfunction. In this case, the immune system falsely recognises the patient's own liver cells as…

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Immune response study

Is a "natural" Covid-19 infection better than vaccination? It's complicated

Hope for a future without fear of Covid-19 comes down to circulating antibodies and memory B cells. Unlike circulating antibodies, which peak soon after vaccination or infection only to fade a few…

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Immunological memory

How our lungs 'remember' a Covid-19 infection

After infection with SARS-CoV-2, where does the immune system store the memory to provide long-term protection against reinfection? Though numerous studies have examined blood to track immune…

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Personalised aftercare

Immunosuppression after transplant: as much as necessary, as little as possible

After a liver transplant, patients have to take immune-suppressing drugs for the rest of their lives. These so-called immunosuppressants prevent the organ from being rejected. However, the drugs…

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Promising approach

New nanoparticles suppress resistance to cancer immunotherapy

Hokkaido University scientists and colleagues in Japan have found a way that could help some patients overcome resistance to an immunotherapy treatment for cancer. The approach, proven in mice…

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Autoimmune reaction study

Severe Covid-19 linked to increase in self-attacking antibodies

Hospitalized Covid-19 patients are substantially more likely to harbor autoantibodies — antibodies directed at their own tissues or at substances their immune cells secrete into the blood — than…

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SARS CoV-2 B.1.621

WHO classifies Coronavirus "Mu" as new 'Variant of Interest'

The World Health Organization (WHO) has taken a closer look at coronavirus variant B.1.621. The strain, first encountered in January 2021 in Colombia, shows traits that could enable the virus to circumvent immune response to vaccination. As a result, the variant, named "Mu", has been classified as "Variant of Interest" (VOI). Despite its prominence in Colombian new infection,…

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Revealed in CT scans

Lung damage: New cause for breathing troubles in asthmatics found

A novel CT scan-based approach has revealed significant changes in a parameter indicating lung destruction in some asthmatics. This finding could lead to more personalized treatments for asthma accompanied by persistent airflow limitation. Clinicians have long thought that some people with asthma experience declines in their lung function, called fixed airflow obstruction (FAO), due to changes to…

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Immune response determined

How Covid-19 vaccines prepare our immune system for the virus

In view of the continuing high numbers of infections, vaccination offers important protection against severe Covid-19 disease. Scientists from the Faculty of Medicine – University of Freiburg have now been able to determine in detail at what time point initial immune protection is established after vaccination with an mRNA-based vaccine and how the reactions of the various components of the…

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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 system, including to T cells, a process called immune ‘exhaustion’. Overcoming immune exhaustion is a major goal for the development of new therapies for cancer or severe viral infections.

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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 virus. The research by Newcastle University and collaborators within the Human Cell Atlas initiative found raised levels of specific immune cells in asymptomatic people. They also showed people with more…

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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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