Like the AIDS virus, but faster, the measles virus attacks the immune system, according to a new study.
They are sick almost like susceptible to pathogens than the newborn, which enhances the utility of vaccination.
Public health experts have previously noted that measles vaccination campaigns reduce overall infant mortality. But the researchers were unsure of the biological mechanisms.
A team of researchers from Harvard, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Erasmus University in the Netherlands analyzed the blood of 77 Dutch children infected with the virus measles during an epidemic that hit the country in 2013: their blood was collected before infection and then again two months later.
The researchers used a tool developed in the United States and baptized VirSCAN, which identifies all viruses that previously infected the person and whose the immune system remembers: HIV, flu, herpes and hundreds of other viruses. When the body encounters a virus, it creates antibody that remain and protect against future infections: this is "memory"The immune.
The study found that measles removed between 11 and 73% of protective antibodies in children.
measles "reset your immune system and reset it"says epidemiologist Michael Mina, co-author of the study.
Go back to high levels of antibodies and renew their defenses, "must be re-infected with pathogenslike newborns, who take a lot of risks in the early years of their lives"says Michael Mina.
Unlike HIV, immune defenses weaken significantly faster and also recover faster, the researcher says.
The study, aided by macaque tests and other analysis, shows that there is a risk of measles crossing the only risks are associated with infection.
"The virus is far more harmful than we thought, which it does vaccinate more and more precious"says Stephen Elledge, a geneticist, who developed a VirScan tool with colleagues.