Memphis, Tenn. Studies at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., are advancing our understanding of how viruses, including RSV, replicate in humans, mutate to avoid the immune response and can be effectively treated.
John DeVincenzo, MD, medical director of Molecular Diagnostics and Virology Laboratories at Le Bonheur, and professor of Pediatrics and Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Biology at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, has recently published three papers on this topic. DeVincenzo's lab is one of only two of its kind in the United States. His work has focused on respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the most common cause of infant hospitalization, and his findings are leading the way towards the development of antiviral treatment strategies against the disease.
Summaries of the studies' findings include:
Complete viral RNA genome sequencing of ultra-low copy samples by sequence-independent amplification. Nucleic Acids Research, 2012
Viruses change and mutate at rapid rates in virtually random fashion. These high mutation rates of viruses always occur while they replicate within their human hosts. Detecting these changes has been difficult, because mutations that do not help the virus survive and replicate are overwhelmed by mutations that do help. Therefore, it is necessary to be able to detect minute populations of viruses that have mutated and to differentiate these small subpopulations from the majority populations of these viruses. This study outlines new advanced methods and techniques to detect minute sub-populations of viruses within clinical samples obtained from humans. These new techniques can open up areas of research in these viruses and how they mutate to avoid detection and control by our immune systems. Researchers capture 96 to 100 percent of the viral protein-coding region of HIV, respiratory syncytial and West Nile viral samples from as few as 1
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Le Bonheur Children's Hospital