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Genetic signature identified for RSV, the leading cause of infant hospitalizations worldwide
Date:11/14/2013

SV, genes involved in the function of interferon and neutrophilskey components of the innate immune systemwere activated, while genes that regulate T and B cells in the adaptive immune system were suppressed. The researchers plugged this biosignature into an algorithm used to compare the expression of specific genes between patients and healthy controls. The formula yields a score called "molecular distance to health." In the end, Dr. Mejias and her team were able to link specific scores to disease severity. The scores were so precise, in fact, that researchers could tell from the scores how many days RSV-infected infants had required hospitalization or supplemental oxygen.

"We showed that screening RNA profiles is a useful tool from the diagnostic point of view, as it allowed differentiation from influenza and rhinovirus infections with great accuracy," Dr. Mejias says. "It also helps us better understand the pathogenesis of this infection and, more important, to objectively assess disease severity in these patients."

Knowing the molecular distance to health score for RSV patients could soon have a direct application in the clinical setting, Dr. Mejias adds. Tools designed to calculate such scores in emergency roomsthe first stop for many patients with RSVand even in pediatricians' offices are currently under development.

"These novel and affordable tools will have a much faster turn-around time that could facilitate the application of RNA profiles in 'real time' in the clinical setting," says Dr. Mejias, who also is an assistant professor of pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. "It may help triage patients when they first present to the emergency room or pediatric office, but it could also be useful for monitoring clinical changes during the course of the disease, with the ultimate goal of predicting clinical outcomes."

The findings also give researchers a better picture of just how the immune system r
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Contact: Gina Bericchia
Gina.Bericchia@NationwideChildrens.org
614-355-0495
Nationwide Children's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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