New molecular technologies against infectious diseases during space flight
Cohen, Luchino Y., et al. (2008). "New molecular technologies against infectious diseases during space flight." Acta Astronautica 63 7–10: 769-775
Latent virus reactivation, reduction in the number of immune cells, decreased cell activation and increased sensitivity of astronauts to infections following their return on Earth demonstrate that the immune system is less efficient during space flight. This dysfunction during long-term missions could result in the appearance of opportunistic infections or a decrease in the immuno-surveillance mechanisms that eradicate cancer cells. On the other hand, monitoring of the microbial environment is essential to prevent infectious diseases in space. Therefore, both aspects will have to be monitored continuously during long-term missions in space, using miniature and semi-automated diagnostic systems. In the short term, such equipment will allow the study of the causes of space-related immunodeficiency, developing countermeasures to maintain an optimal immune function and improving our capacity to prevent infectious diseases during space missions. In order to achieve these objectives, a new diagnostic system has been designed to perform a set of biological and immunological assays on board spacecrafts. Through flow cytometric assays and molecular biology analyses, this diagnostic system will improve medical surveillance of astronauts and will be used to test countermeasures aimed at preventing immune deficiency during space missions.