Immunologists at McMaster University have discovered a previously unknown mechanism which acts like a spider web, trapping and killing pathogens such as influenza or SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19.
The researchers have found that neutrophils, the most abundant white blood cells in the human body, explode when they bind to such pathogens coated in antibodies and release DNA outside of the cell, creating a sticky tangle which acts as a trap.
The findings, published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, are significant because little is understood about how antibodies neutralize viruses in the respiratory tract.
The discovery has implications for vaccine design and delivery, including aerosol and nasal spray technologies that could help the body head off infections before they have a chance to take hold.
Immunologists @Millerlab_atMac and @Hannah_Stacey_ have discovered a "spiderweb" mechanism that traps and kills pathogens like SARS-CoV-2. Their work could change vaccine design and delivery, including aerosol/nasal spray technologies. | @MacGlobalNexus https://t.co/F7L0lQKjhm
— McMaster University (@McMasterU) June 29, 2021