February 22, 2011

New Findings Slow The Spread Of the Rubella Virus

(Ivanhoe Newswire) "“ The Rubella virus is responsible for more birth defects worldwide than any other infectious disease. A new breakthrough may help slow, even stop it in its track.

The RNA virus can cause many viral diseases including, AIDS, influenza and hepatitis C. Researchers at the University Of Alberta's Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry discovered that a well known protein in the Rubella virus blocked the process that triggers cell death -- allowing the virus to replicate and spread.

The team believed by blocking the pathways in cells that lead to cell death, it isolated the responsible gene in Rubella, also known as German measles. Researchers conducted some reverse genetic experiments and mutated the capsid protein; which made the virus spread more slowly.

Researchers are now studying the West Nile and Dengue viruses to see if these RNA viruses prevent cell suicide in the same way. They hope the discovery will one day lead to viral infections being limited and shutdown at an earlier stage.

Source: PLoS Pathogens, published February 21, 2011