Whether flu or coronavirus, it can take several days for the body to ramp up an effective response to a viral infection. New research appearing in the journal Nature Immunology describes how different cells in the immune system work together, communicate, and — in the case of cells called neutrophils — bring about their own death to help fight off infections. The findings could have important implications for the development of vaccines and anti-viral therapies.
“The immune system consists of several different types of cells, all acting in coordination,” said Minsoo Kim, Ph.D., a professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and senior author of the study. “These findings show that cells called neutrophils play an important altruistic role that benefits other immune cells by providing key resources for their survival and, in the process, enhancing the body’s immune response against a virus.”