Hepatitis B is a viral infection that can cause liver damage. Most healthy adults that contract the acute infection can be symptom free and clear the virus. Some people cannot clear the virus after several months, developing the chronic form of the infection. Pegylated interferon is a slow-release form of an immune molecule that has been shown to inhibit virus replication and limit liver damage.
A form of malaria called cerebral malaria can develop in people with malaria infection. This severe complication often causes comas and death can result in some patients. The brain swells and bleeding in the brain tissue can occur. Though, how malaria infection causes this devastating condition is not fully understood.
Vascular disease in people of advanced age can be caused in part by immune responses triggered by the cytomegalovirus. The cytomegalovirus, a member of the herpes virus family, rarely causes symptoms in people with normal immune function. However, it can be an issue in those with weaker immune systems such as geriatric patients.
Vector-borne diseases are caused by insects such as mosquitoes, flies and ticks, etc., and can gravely affect both humans and animals. Diseases such as Lyme’s disease are caused by bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi) carried by ticks. However, ticks can carry other types of disease-causing organisms, and it is possible that an unlucky person can be affected by more than one of those. This type of situation can make an already challenging Lyme’s disease diagnosis more difficult, making effective treatment complicated.
Available therapies used to prevent the development of AIDS in HIV-infected individuals work by reducing the level of infection, but do not completely destroy the infection. A persistent source of HIV-infected cells remains in HIV-infected individuals despite being on long-term antiviral therapy. This causes ongoing inflammation and immune system activation, putting these individuals at risk for developing non-AIDS diseases and conditions. Given the increased risk of health with the persistent presence of HIV-infected cells, new treatment approaches are needed that will completely eliminate or kill the HIV-infected cells, removing the source (reservoir) of these cells.