The three-dimensional structure of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is no longer a mystery thanks to an international research team from Finland and Switzerland.

Researchers carried out an electron cryotomographic characterization of cell culture-grown human RSV to determine its architecture. They believe the results of their study provide fresh insights into host cell exit of a serious pathogen.

“The structural model helps us to understand how infectious viruses are formed. This information can be useful in the intelligent design of vaccines,” said researcher Lassi Liljeroos.

“In addition, we observed that the fusion protein on the surface is in two different forms. The fusion protein is responsible for attaching the virus to human cells and invading them. This is an important finding because the fusion protein is the key molecule in developing therapeutic antibodies to the virus. “