Influenza is highly contagious and easily spreads as people move about and travel, making tracking and forecasting flu activity a challenge. While the CDC continuously monitors patient visits for flu-like illness in the US, this information can lag up to two weeks behind real time. A new study combines two forecasting methods with machine learning to estimate local flu activity.
Researchers found that lung immune cells (phagocytes) produce increased levels of neuropeptide Y (NPY) when mice are infected with severe influenza virus. NPY and its receptor form the NPY-Y1R axis. In mice with influenza, activation of this axis causes excess pulmonary inflammation and viral replication, leading to increased disease severity. Deactivation of NPY, Y1R or their downstream effects was found to mitigate disease severity. These pathways could be targets for novel anti-influenza medicines.
Researchers have developed a vaccine that is effective in mice against Powassan virus, an emerging tick-borne virus that can cause life-threatening encephalitis in humans. They also show that the vaccine produces antibodies that can protect the mice against other, related tick-transmitted flaviviruses.
Skin vaccination using a microneedle patch that contains the inactivated respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and a compound that stimulates immune responses to the virus has been found to enhance protection against this serious disease and reduce inflammation in the body after exposure to the virus, according to a new study.
Despite the commuter cold being a widely accepted concept, it has never been proven that public transport contributes to the spread of airborne infections. Now new research on the London underground commute has proven a link does exist.
Compared with skipping a flu shot, getting a flu shot was associated with an 18 percent reduced risk of premature death among newly-diagnosed heart failure patients. Moreover, regular annual flu shots were associated with a 19 percent reduction in both all-cause and cardiovascular death when compared with no vaccination.
Using a mouse model of influenza and experiments that included parabiosis, researchers definitively showed that lung-resident memory B cells establish themselves in the lung soon after influenza infection. Those lung memory B cells responded more quickly to produce antibodies against influenza after a second infection, as compared to the response by the circulating memory B cells in lymphoid tissue, and establishment of the lung-resident memory B cells required a local antigen encounter in the lung.
In research to improve influenza therapies against H7N9 and other influenza strains, researchers have detailed the binding site and mechanism of inhibition for two small-molecule experimental inhibitors of influenza viruses.