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January 1996

Evasion of Immunologic Defenses and Emerging Viral Threats

Author Affiliations

From the Multiple Sclerosis and Neurology Clinic, Portland, Ore.

Arch Neurol. 1996;53(1):23-27. doi:10.1001/archneur.1996.00550010033013

New viruses and virus strains appear at irregular but frequent intervals in the human population. Those that represent a widespread serious threat to human populations have evolved mechanisms for either short-term or longer-term evasion of immunologic recognition and neutralization. These mechanisms include (1) antigenic shift, (2) intracellular transport, (3) intracellular latency, (4) direct infection and destruction of cells of the immune system, (5) infection in utero or early infancy so the developing immune system regards it as part of the host repertoire of antigens, and probably (6) nonantigenicity. In this article, I discuss these mechanisms and their relationship to the threat constituted by emerging viral agents.

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