Enterovirus A71 (EV-A71) is an emerging virus that can cause neurological diseases in young children. In some children, EV-A71 can be life-threatening and may cause severe polio-like acute paralysis, meningitis and encephalitis. Despite being highly infectious, there is no antiviral treatment available for this virus.
To create a suitable antiviral treatment for EV-A71, we must first try to understand the mechanisms of this virus. However, it is currently unclear how the virus spreads from primary entry sites (the mucosa of the respiratory tract or the intestine) to secondary replication sites (skin or brain).
Through collaboration between the department of Experimental Immunoloy and OrganoVIR Labs, Leanne Helgers (PhD student supervised by Theo Geijtenbeek and our Senior Scientist Adithya Sridhar) studied how EV-A71 spreads in the human body.
During her research, Leanne investigated the role of dendritic cells (DCs), cells that reside in the mucosa of airway and gut, in the dissemination of EV-A71. Upon analyzing her data, she found that DCs may have a role in the transmission of EV-A71.
What led her to this conclusion? Read the full paper here: