A group of Scientists have made a new breakthrough in finding out how the flu virus manages to invade the body so quickly and effectively.
A team at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research examined the process by which the immune system usually works to generate virus-specific B cells that produce antibodies to bind with and disarm hostile invaders.
They found that the flu virus is able to exploit the specificity of these cells’ receptors, using them to gain access, disrupt antibody production and eventually kill the cells.
This allowed the virus to replicate quickly before another wave of defence could be organised, infecting the body and making the host ill.
Co-author of the study, Nature Joseph Ashour, said: ‘We can now add this to the growing list of ways that the flu virus has to establish infection.’
It is thought the discovery could lead to more immunological models for a variety of pathogens.
It comes after Public Health England urged all at-risk populations to get the flu vaccine as the peak infection season approaches.
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