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Genes explain why some children don’t easily recover from common colds

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Researchers funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) have discovered mutations that worsen respiratory infections among children. Their study explains the mechanism involved. Colds that are not linked to influenza are generally benign. Still, two percent of each generation of children have to go to a hospital following a virulent infection.

[Swiss National Science Foundation professor Jaques] Fellay has discovered the reason for some of these infections: they are caused by mutations of a gene that plays a part in recognizing certain cold-inducing viruses.

“We have been able to confirm that a gene, called IFIH1, plays an important role in defending the body against the principal viruses responsible for respiratory infections among children,” he explains.

The researchers collaborated with various pediatric wards in Swiss and Australian hospitals to study cases of children who needed intensive care after a severe respiratory infection (bronchiolitis or pneumonia) caused by a virus.

The result: of the 120 children included in the study, eight carried mutations of the IFIH1 gene.

The researcher has been able to show that three different mutations of IFIH1 render the protein incapable of recognizing the virus, thereby preventing the body from defending itself against the infection.

These results should prove useful for setting new therapeutic and preventive targets.
The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Gene Increases Severity of Common Colds

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