Typically, an underlying virus in the body does not stop the activation of the natural immune system of the body against a newly introduced virus. Yale researchers in collaboration with researchers from The National Institute of Mental Health and NeuroSciences (India) and Apollo Hospital in Bangalore collected blood samples from dengue patients in India. Later on, they exposed these samples to the Zika virus and studied them through cell profiling technology to study the immune response of the patients. They were surprised to see that the dengue virus almost failed to impair the strong natural immune response of cells against the Zika virus.
The study findings are published in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases and is open for public access.
Ruth Montgomery, the research leader made it known that when a new pathogen gets an entry in the body natural immune system initiates a robust defense system against it.
Blood samples of dengue patients were compared with the healthy control from India and the research team found that the dengue virus was failed to stop the initiation of immune responses to the newly introduced Zika virus. In thirty-six cell subsets, an increase in cytokines ( small proteins that fight against infection) was noticed due to the introduction of the Zika virus. The natural immune response of individuals with acute dengue was not declined and they still show a robust immune response to the Zika virus.
Zika virus and dengue virus both have the same transmission vectors. Newborns are more vulnerable to the Zika virus because over six thousand and seven hundred cases of neurological damage and deformities have been estimated in babies while in dengue infection, over fifty to one hundred million cases of joint pain fever, headaches, and more severe shock syndrome have been estimated. Some regions (like in 2015 Brazil had Zika epidemic) are susceptible to Zika and dengue virus because both are mosquito-borne human pathogens. Zika virus was not a health issue in India when the samples were collected but ninety-four cases of Zika were confirmed by 2018.
The findings showed the immune response of the body at the single-cell level against viruses. To understand infectious diseases, human immunology and vaccination responses at a better level, this research was made a part of the HIPC consortium.
The research team used an advance technique, CyTOF (Cytometry-by-Time-of-Flight) also known as mass cytometry to check the immune response and in individual immune cell populations, it found several mechanisms of the responses. a new deep algorithm SAUCIE (explores single-cell data) designed by a group in the lab of Smita Krishnaswamy, director of the Yale mass cytometry was used for the analysis of the results. Smita Krishnaswamy shared that Yale is one of the medical centers with mass cytometry and is leading in advanced cell analysis.
Montgomery revealed that Yale has set up an advanced technology to examine the response of human immune cells against viruses and have a cooperation underway to collect samples from coronavirus patients because the virologists and containment facilities of Yale are best. The findings of this study are helpful for scientists to understand all the emerging infectious diseases including coronavirus.