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Stem cells & Covid and Zika infections

Scientists at The Francis Crick Institute, UK, have discovered a process in mammalian stem cells that can protect against viral infection.

By analysing mouse stem cells, the team found the cell machinery used to build an antiviral protein which had previously only been thought to exist in plants and insects and not mammalian cells.

Using these cells to grow mini-brain organoids, the team found cells that used this machinery were protected against infection from both Zika and SARS-CoV-2 viruses, and will now develop a mouse model to understand the process in more detail.

“By learning more about this process, and uncovering the secrets of our immune system we are hoping to open up new possibilities for drug development as we strive to harness our body’s natural ability to fight infection,” said group leader Caetano Reis e Sousa.


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