Concentration of flu virus could impact patient immunity

A new study by Canadian scientists revealed that the number of viruses initially involved in an influenza infection may affect the course of the illness.

The study, which appears in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, found that mice infected with high concentrations of the flu virus developed immunity against the virus that infected them, according to

In addition, the infection promoted the generation of a type of immune cell in the lungs ready to react rapidly against different flu strains.

Mice infected with relatively lower concentrations of the virus developed weaker immunity against the virus that caused the infection, did not develop the immune cells in the lungs and displayed lower immunity to other flu strains.

The study's authors, from the Université de Sherbrooke and Centre de Recherche Clinique Étienne-Le Bel in Québec, Canada, said that the research could help determine new strategies to fight influenza infections and potentially a novel vaccine.

"Hopefully, the findings of our study will help to develop better vaccine preparations that will be more effective in inducing protective cellular immunity to fight against infectious pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and fungi," Dr. Martin V. Richter, the study's lead researcher, said, reports.

Dr. John Wherry, the deputy editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, said the discovery could enhance current vaccines to offer broader protection against known and unknown virus strains.