-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Sept. 17 (HealthDay News) -- A gene mutation explains
why some people develop cold sores while others do not, according
to a new study.
Cold sores -- blisters that appear on and around the lips -- are
caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Between 80
percent and 90 percent of people are infected with the virus, but
only about one-quarter of them get frequent cold sores.
Scottish researchers analyzed blood samples from people affected
by cold sores and found that they have a mutation in a gene called
IL28b. This mutation means the body can't mount an adequate immune
response to HSV-1.
"Most people carry the cold sore strain of the herpes simplex virus, but until now we never knew why only some of them develop cold sores," Professor Juergen Haas, of the University of Edinburgh, said in a university news release.
"Knowing that susceptibility to the virus involved relates to people's genes reinforces the need to research not only the evolution of viruses themselves, but also the susceptibility of hosts to infection," Haas said.
The study was published in the journal
The IL28b gene also is linked to treatment responses for
hepatitis C patients. If this gene is mutated, patients are less
likely to respond as well to treatment. The research provides
further evidence that a single genetic mutation can be linked to
different viruses, Haas said.
The Nemours Foundation has more about
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