Xiaoyong Bao, Ph.D.

University of Texas Medical Branch

Developing Vaccine Against Virus That Can be Deadly in Children

Human metapneumovirus (hMPV) has been identified as a leading cause of bronchiolitis, pneumonia, lung failure, and asthma exacerbations in children under age 5. Dr. Bao and team recently discovered that the protein M2-2 inhibits the human immune response to hMPV and helps sustain and grow the virus. The researchers have identified two molecular mechanisms that M2-2 uses to combat host immunity as well as domains responsible for its inhibitory role. Agonists that trigger immune responses are currently being tested to enhance immune responses against viruses, which could lead to safer and more effective vaccine candidates and therapeutic molecules modifying M2-2-host interaction.

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