When a mosquito bites a human, it leaves behind some of its saliva, leading to an inflammation that can help the virus it is carrying to infect the body. However, when the white blood cells – neutrophils and myeloid – attempt to stave off the infection, at times, they themselves get infected and inadvertently replicate the virus. Thus, a group of researchers at the University of Leeds studied how the inflamed and itchy sites of mosquito bites help viruses such as Zika or dengue to infect the victim’s body. The researchers used a mouse model to compare how the mice’s immune system reacted to the bites of the Aedes aegypti mosquito compared to the injection of the virus without the bite. It was found that the bite increased the risk of virus infection in the body as against when the virus was introduced without a bite. This indicates that the virus’s efficacy is dependent on the host’s response. The research team hopes that this study will lead to further research on whether topical anti-inflammatory creams can be repurposed to treat the bite inflammation before the viruses infect the body.
Read more in Science Daily.