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Beware of the virus that changes your smell

Beware of the virus that changes your smell

The researchers who had just identified this phenomenon around the dengue and Zika viruses conducted their experiments on mice. But everything indicates that this phenomenon applies to humans. And while worrying from a public health point of view – no one likes the idea of ​​more disease-carrying mosquitoes – it opens the door to new technologies. to reduce the risk: Reduce or even prevent odor.

It has long been known that some diseases change the scent of their host in favor of microorganisms. Infected plants cucumber mosaic virus, emits a molecule that attracts aphids and through which the virus infects other plants. malaria also known For the change in smell it causes, it can be detected by mosquitoes that then transmit the disease. However, we didn’t know what happened with Zika and Dengue, Two viruses are the same It is transmitted by mosquitoes Aedes that thrive in stagnant water.

research authors, Posted on June 30 in the magazine cellevaluated that mice infected with either of these viruses emit 10 times as much acetophenone. They also found That coating uninfected mice with acetophenone attracted mosquitoes there, too — and they repeated the experiment with a few humans immune to bites.

usually, bacteria on the surface of the skin naturally produce this substance, but in turn, the antimicrobial protein, which is produced by skin cells, limits their number. The gene responsible for this protein would be less active in mice infected with dengue or Zika.

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