As we make our way toward the end of October, flu season continues to be a hot topic of conversation. While medical professionals continue to encourage people of all ages to get vaccinated, researchers keep looking for better options of treatment. Currently, individuals may go to their doctor or local clinic to get vaccinated for some of the most common strains of the virus. However, a flu shot does not currently mean that you are safe from falling ill.
Professionals from the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research conducted a study using mice to look at how the influenza virus affects B cells. It was discovered that the virus targets and destroys certain cells that are located in the lungs.1 From there, the memory cells stand dormant, waiting for a future infection of the flu. In some cases, this may lead to fast-acting symptoms shortly following exposure to the germs.
The collected information is useful in moving forward with developing future flu vaccinations because it shows an additional way in which the virus establishes infection within the body.2 Moving forward, researchers believe that there may be a chance to develop better vaccines thanks to this information. However, it should be noted that further research is required on the subject, as preliminary findings were collected from lab mice.
In 2012, professionals from Northwestern University led an investigation which discovered how the flu overpowers the human immune defense system. Authors noted that a bout of influenza came down to supremacy between the infection and the host – and in many cases the virus takes control over the immune system. As a result, it is able to successful shutdown protein production, which is vital in warding off sickness.3
These doctors were hopeful in targeting specific flu strains based on their findings, which would lead to better prevention moving forward. As this type of research advances, the outlook for influenza protection are bright. In the meantime, people should continue getting vaccinated and taking the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of infection.
Medex Supply provides individuals and health care professionals with a number of products to help prevent infection.
1 Nature, "Antigen-specific B-cell receptor sensitizes B cells to infection by influenza virus" October 20, 2013
2 Medical News Today, "Flu virus wipes out first wave of immune response" October 21, 2013
3 Medical News Today, "How does the flu virus disrupt our natural defense system?" August 27, 2012