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How herpes and other dormant viruses 'reactivate' explained in new study


Senior Member
Midwest USA
From: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/278890.php

"The question has been: what happens to reactivate these viruses to cause disease?"

The researchers found that interferon gamma kept the herpes virus dormant, but when the immune system responded to a helminth infection, the virus would reactivate.
In co-operation with researchers from Washington University in St. Louis, MO, Renne and his UF colleagues investigated how human herpes virus 8 - a herpes virus linked to the Kaposi's sarcoma cancer - reactivates. They publish their findings in the journalScience.

Working first with a mouse model, and then replicating their findings in human subjects, the team found that after initial infection, the protein interferon gamma kept the virus dormant in the body.

However, the effect of the interferon gamma was cancelled out following an infection from a helminth worm - a common parasite in sub-Saharan Africa, where Kaposi's sarcoma is also common.

The researchers observed that another protein called interleukin 4 was released by the immune system to deal with the helminth, but this blocked the interferon gamma function and also activated the replication function of the herpes virus.