Dr. David Hare and Dr. Karen Mossman published their most recent work titled Virus-Intrinsic Differences and Heterogeneous IRF3 Activation Influence IFN-Independent Antiviral Protection in the journal iScience. Their study expands our understanding of the factors that impact IFN production and innate immune activation during viral infection. Type I IFN production plays a crucial role in our immune responses following viral infection. The authors compared innate antiviral responses to DNA and RNA viruses, using Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) and Sendai virus (SeV), respectively. Studying both infectious and inactivated viral particles, they found that HCMV elicited IFN-independent ISGs, while SeV induced a different, IFN-dependent, antiviral response.

Importantly, they found no similar distinction when transfecting DNA or RNA, suggesting the mechanism of delivery plays an important role in immune recognition and activation. These results are especially critical as viruses are being increasingly investigated for their use in gene therapy and oncolytic therapy. This study will aid in improving the development of these therapeutics, as their findings suggest that both the viral particle and its delivery mechanism must be carefully designed to induce a robust immune response for greatest therapeutic effect.

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