This discovery of cells that mimic the function of a spider web is credited to immunologists at McMaster University. The previously unknown defense mechanism and its core functions in the cell will be studied further.
Newly detected structures in cellular defenses
Discovering neutrophils, the most numerous white blood cells in the body, these cells work by exploding when sticking to pathogens that get trapped in antibodies. They will release the foreign DNA outside the cell, with the antibodies and enzymes trapping any pathogens, reported Eurekalert.
The data about these white blood cells was posted by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. This new discovery shows how little is known about the way antibodies kill pathogens in the respiratory system.
Its impact on how vaccine design and delivery is important, especially when it comes to aerosol and nasal spray delivery systems. It can be used to prevent an eventual infection by viruses by a direct application, without needing inoculation.
Study lead author Matthew Miller, an associate professor at McMaster's Michael G. DeGroote Institute, specializes in pandemics and biothreats. He said that vaccines can create those antibodies found in our lungs. The expectation then is that they stop flu viruses or SARS-CoV-2 that attack the lung and respiratory system.
Scientists find an exotic mechanism in cells like a spider web that can stop any pathogen from taking over cells. When it enters the body, it will allow a means to stop spreading the infection or more severe complications from taking hold.
Differences in vaccine inoculation
One major function of injected vaccines is their function to add antibodies into the blood directly. The shortcoming with this method is that these antibodies will not be where actual sites where infections are started. Placing the antibody on these paths of infection is a way to stop viruses directly and will make a difference.
According to Hannah Stacey, a graduate student from Miller Lab and also one of the lead authors, the study suggests that when the next batch of COVID-19 treatments are made, they must have a way to deliver it to the lungs and generate neutrophils. So, far no treatment can be used directly as a spray, noted Science Daily.
She added that these antibodies are plentiful in the blood and it might not work to deliver the pathogen killers effectively by injection. Instead using a spray is the best way.
Neutrophils are good defenses with drawbacks
While the spider-web mechanism might be beneficial, there is also a problem because it can cause damage. If the cellular webs forms do not stop to trap only pathogens or viruses, it can result in inflammation.
Neutrophils were found in the earliest wave of the SARS-CoV-2 before vaccines were available. These NETs (neutrophil extracellular traps) were found in the lungs of patients while having difficulty breathing. NETs were not only attacking viruses.
News & Views: Immune cells called neutrophils can support the spread of cancer. How neutrophils aid this process now comes into focus through insights into the function of structures called neutrophil extracellular traps, according to a Nature paper. https://t.co/amg8KV5NUU— Nature Portfolio (@NaturePortfolio) September 1, 2020
Miller mentioned that the immune defenses can cause harm by causing an infection if the uncontrolled NETs attack all tissues of bodies. Keeping a balance is the most crucial factor.
Scientists find an exotic mechanism in cells like a spider web which should be kept balanced at all times, or it might attack healthy bodies and tissues.
Related article: Coronavirus Effects: How it Harms Human Body Organs