Jan 17, 2019 | Updated: 03:16 PM EST

A ‘Trojan Horse’ Virus Can Be A Cure For Congenital Hearing Loss – Here’s How

Apr 11, 2017 02:25 AM EDT


It has been discovered that damage in the hair cells within the inner ear can cause severe to complete hearing loss. There are now reports that a non-pathogenic virus which has been modified to function as a 'Trojan horse' is likely to be successful in curing these kinds of illnesses.

According to the California Ear Institute, these hair cells are the main sound receptors of the ear. Once it degenerates, damaged, or dysfunctional the entire ear will be affected despite the lack of damage in other essential parts of the ear. The interesting thing about this problem is that once the hair cells have been restored, there is a likely chance that hearing will be made to function as well.

There are now researchers that focus on the regeneration of hair cells and a particular study by the Medical University of Vienna seems to be among the first to be successful. According to a report from Science Daily, the researchers have used a non-pathogenic adeno-associated virus (AAV) as a carrier of genes that will be used to restore damaged hair cells in the ear.

The study has used the idea of a virus' capacity to infiltrate a cell to carry genes that can restore damaged cells. Normally, a pathogen disguises itself as a dead cell to trick healthy cells to digest it. In the same way, these 'Trojan horse' AAVs are non-disease carrying viruses that will be disguised in the same manner as a waste or dead cell and will hopefully be digested by healthier cells. Once ingested, the AAV will release healthy genes that could stimulate regrowth and regeneration to damaged hair cells.

The Trojan horse methodology has been used to resolve a number of issues as well. A report from VOA News has indicated that this kind of strategy has been researched for effectivity in combating Ebola Viruses in 2016. Although the words "virus" and "Trojan horse" have always been misinterpreted to mean sickness, loss, intrusion, and so on, scientists may have found a new way to bring these words to a positive light.

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