Scientists from the United States have found out how the RS virus deceives human immunity and infects the body. This will help in developing a vaccine and treating complications after infection.

Researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine in St. Louis have figured out how the virus undermines the body’s defenses. This is another step towards understanding why the human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) can cause serious illness in vulnerable populations. They found that it produces the NS1 protein, which penetrates the nucleus and alters the activity of immune genes, weakening the immune response.

The results of the study, published in the journal Cell Reports, point to new strategies for preventing and treating infection and may even provide clues as to why people with severe RSV are at increased risk of asthma.

“This virus is a serious burden on the body. It leads to thousands of hospitalizations and a significant number of deaths in the United States each year, and there are no effective treatments or vaccines yet,” said study co-author Daisy Leung, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine, biochemistry and molecular biophysics, pathology and immunology. – NS1 is an important reason why RSV is capable of causing disease. This protein not only interferes with the immune response, but is also important for viral replication.”

RSV is a very common virus. Every year in the United States, about 58,000 children under the age of 5 are hospitalized for RSV infection, and between 100 and 500 infected children die. Children who have experienced a severe case are 30-40% more likely to develop complications than the general population. This virus also kills about 14,000 elderly people every year.

Prior to that, scientists already believed that NS1 is one of the ways the virus uses to counteract the body’s defenses. In 2017, they already figured out that part of the protein is involved in undermining the immune response. But it was unclear how the protein does this.

By clarifying the details of how NS1 manipulates gene expression, this study provides critical data that could aid in the development of drugs or vaccines that target this protein.