A hidden viral world within us

Upon infection, many viruses can remain permanently in the human body and may shape our health in ways not yet fully understood. New observations add a new chapter to the human microbiome, providing a blueprint of the organs in which these viruses persist.
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In our recently published article in Nucleic Acids Research ( https://doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkad199) we show that rather than being sterile, multiple viruses live within the organs of healthy individuals.

Many of these viruses are acquired early in life and persist inside our cells for life. In this work, we locate the hidden niches of these resident viruses and show how they are spread in the human body.

In order to survive, viruses must tweak the cell host and the immune system. This can have profound long-term consequences on how our body works and its ability to respond to different stressors. The effects can be positive (for example, protection against other microbes or regulation of the immune system) or negative ( for example, chronic inflammatory diseases), but we know really little in general about them.
However, knowing what these viruses are doing, how they are able to persist, and what supports their reactivation, can help us prevent or treat diseases.

Moreover,  we need to explore not only the connection to the host but to other members of the microbiome.

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Life Sciences > Biological Sciences > Microbiology