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Researchers observe hybrid virus for the first time — RT World News


A new study led by the MRC-University of Glasgow Center for Virus Research has for the first time found that viruses can fuse inside human cells to create a new type of pathogen that can evade the human immune system.

The researchers, who published the paper on Monday, co-infected human lung cells with influenza A virus (IAV) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and found that instead of competing with each other, they coalesced into a new palm-shaped hybrid virus.

This new hybrid was then able to infect neighboring cells, despite the presence of antibodies against influenza which were supposed to block the infection. The researchers say the antibodies stuck to the flu proteins on the surface of the hybrid virus, but the virus simply used the RSV proteins to infect lung cells instead, similar to a ‘Trojan horse’.

Researchers are now trying to find out if this newly discovered hybrid virus plays a role in triggering a difficult-to-treat and life-threatening lung disease known as viral pneumonia, which is believed to be commonly caused by influenza, RSV and coronaviruses. .

Professor Pablo Murcia, who supervised the research, says what the team observed has never been described before. “We are talking about viruses from two completely different families that combine with the outer protein genomes of both viruses. It is a new type of pathogenic virus,” he was quoted as saying by The Guardian.


Although co-infections in humans are thought to be quite common, the researchers say there has been little to no data until now on how viruses react when found in the air. inside the same cell.

Since the study was conducted using cultured cell layers, scientists are now looking to investigate whether hybrid viruses can form in real patients with co-infections.

“We need to know if this only happens with influenza and RSV, or does it extend to other virus combinations as well?” Murcia said, adding that he believed it did and could even extend to animal viruses. “This is just the start of what I think will be a long journey, of hopefully very interesting discoveries.”

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