Maryland researchers report decoy molecule may decrease flu deaths
Even though the flu virus can be lethal, the body’s immune response against the invading germs may be equally dangerous. The immune system generates an inflammatory attack that is designed to eliminate the invading virus, but if the inflammatory response is too aggressive, the body can harm itself and its own tissues. This additional damage can cause death.
The researcher’s newly discovered decoy molecule can inhibit the inflammatory response so that it does not damage the body as it tries to eliminate the virus.
"We think this molecule has real potential as a strategy to protect patients from the body's tendency to respond too strongly to some viruses," Vladimir Toshchakov, assistant professor and researcher in the university's department of microbiology and immunology, said.
"Dr. Toshchakov's work is an exciting move forward in the fight against flu," dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine E. Albert Reece said. "This defines bench-to-bedside: Starting with basic scientific questions, he and his colleagues have identified a promising candidate that could in the future have real clinical use."
Further details are available in the Cell Reports journal.