Basic virology

The Problem of Original Antigenic Sin

by Gertrud U. Rey Once the innate immune system senses a never-seen-before pathogen as new, it engages elements of the adaptive immune response. These adaptive immunity elements coordinate over time to develop a response that protects from re-infection and disease upon a second exposure to the same pathogen. The second exposure will immediately lead to …

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How the Viruses Within Us Protect Us From Other Viruses

by Gertrud U. Rey Did you know that eight percent of the human genome consists of DNA sequences that are derived from retroviruses? These “endogenous retroviruses” (ERVs) represent concrete evidence for retroviral infections that occurred in our ancestors. Although ERVs have no viral activity, an accumulating body of evidence suggests that they are not entirely …

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