Herpes Strain Found in Nervous System: Surprising Discovery

Herpes Strain Found in Nervous System: Surprising Discovery

Researchers at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute have made an interesting discovery regarding the two most common strains of herpes, human herpes 6 (HHV-6) and human herpes 7 (HHV-7). According to the press release, 90% of the human population are estimated to have these herpes strains. Although more often than not these roseoloviruses do not tend to elicit severe symptoms when acquired by the human host, reactivation of dormant herpes viruses can have deadly implications.

Serge Barcy, PhD, research assistant professor at the Center for Global Infectious Disease Research, made a surprising discovery during his research of herpes viruses conducted at Seattle Children’s Research Institute: the HHV-7 virus was hidden in the nervous system of naturally infected pig-tailed macaques, a species of monkey. They named the HHV-6 and HHV-7 strains in the pig-tailed macaques MneH6 and MneH7 respectively, finding that the monkey’s strains were very similar both biologically and genetically to their human counterparts, according to the study.

Speaking of this interesting study and how it prompts further research, Dr. Barcy said, “It’s common to find herpes virus in salivary glands of humans and animals. But we found herpes 7 in the nervous system of animal models, which was a surprise because that strain of herpes has not been detected in the nervous system before. We want to understand what it does in the nervous system, if the virus is also in the human nervous system and if it could be associated with nerve diseases.”

When a herpes virus invades an individual, the body automatically responds in an effort to fight the infection. However, even after the individual gets better, some of the virus remains hidden within the body, lying dormant and undetected, such as in the case of chicken pox, a virus from the herpes family. “In a healthy child who gets chicken pox … the body fights the virus and the child gets better. But dormant chicken pox virus remains in the body, and later in life something can trigger it and the person can develop shingles.” said Dr. Barcy… Read More>>

Source: Contagion Live

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