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Asthma may influence the evolution of influenza virus, study shows

A subtype of bronchial asthma in adults might trigger larger susceptibility to influenza and will lead to harmful flu mutations.

College of Queensland-led animal research have discovered that paucigranulocytic bronchial asthma (PGA) – a non-allergic type of the situation – permits the flu virus to flourish in higher numbers in victims.

UQ PhD candidate Ms Katina Hulme mentioned this was as a result of bronchial asthma’s suppression of the immune system.

“We have been first tipped off about this through the 2009 swine flu pandemic,” Ms Hulme mentioned.

“Bronchial asthma was recognized as the commonest underlying medical situation in people hospitalized with flu, and these people have been at a higher danger of ICU admission.

“Our lab research have discovered that non-allergic bronchial asthma, or PGA, can suppress immune response to flu and with the immune system compromised, the virus is left unchecked and might replicate greater than it does in a wholesome particular person.

“And, because the flu isn’t so good at proof-reading its genetic code when replicating, it makes plenty of errors, and with extra replication comes extra alternative for mutations to emerge.

To conduct the analysis, the researchers used an asthmatic mouse mannequin with influenza virus.

From there, computer-driven evaluation of the virus genome was used to establish mutations that emerged completely within the asthmatic group.

UQ’s Dr Kirsty Brief mentioned whereas these exams have been preliminary and carried out in animals, the outcomes might mirror a broader phenomenon in people.

Our research produced clear findings that match properly with what we learn about a suppressed immune response and the emergence of influenza virus variants.


Which is especially related within the context of COVID-19, the place it has been recommended that the so-called UK variant arose due to a chronic an infection in an immunocompromised affected person.


For this research, it could be fascinating to get entry to scientific asthmatic samples to probably affirm what we have discovered experimentally.


Our research supplies the primary proof that bronchial asthma might affect the evolution of the influenza virus, and – transmission allowing – might result in the emergence of extra pathogenic strains into the group.


It is due to this fact actually vital to do not forget that host-viral interactions are bidirectional and that host co-morbidities can affect the evolution of influenza virus.”


Dr Kirsty Brief, College of Queensland

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