The raging lung inflammation that can contribute to death from the flu can be stopped in its tracks by a drug derived from a naturally occurring human protein, a new animal study suggests.
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In mouse studies, all untreated animals given a lethal dose of influenza died within days. All but one of the infected mice treated with the experimental therapy not only survived, but remained energetic and kept weight on — despite having high levels of the flu virus in their lungs.
The experimental treatment is a heavy dose of MG53, part of a family of proteins that plays an essential role in cell membrane repair. Already identified as a potential therapy for conditions ranging from Alzheimer’s disease to persistent skin wounds, MG53 was found in this study to prevent death from a lethal flu infection by blocking excessive inflammation — without having any effect on the virus itself.
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A perfect storm of medical misinformation and political disinformation is creating new challenges for the press, for social media platforms and for the public. Take just the events of the last few days. On the heels of his release from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, President Donald Trump stood on the balcony of the White House, removed his mask and then gave a short speech that was quickly uploaded to social media. “Maybe I’m immune, I don’t know,” he declared. The truth is, he is still very contagious. But the public declaration alarmed scientists, who are working to produce an effective and safe vaccine. Online, fans cheered that Trump had beaten Covid-19, even as he put his staff in danger.
A perfect storm of medical misinformation and political disinformation is creating new challenges for the press, for social media platforms, and for the public.
Trump followed up that appearance
Researchers have identified two antibodies that protect mice against lethal infections of influenza B virus, report scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Together with an antibody that targets the other major kind of influenza viruses that infect people — influenza A — these antibodies potentially could form the basis of a broad-spectrum flu drug that could treat almost all flu cases.
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The findings are published Sep. 24 in the journal Immunity.
“People forget that before COVID-19 hit last winter, we were already in the midst of a really bad influenza season, especially for children,” said co-senior author Ali Ellebedy, PhD, an assistant professor of pathology and immunology at Washington University. “Last year, influenza B viruses attacked much earlier in the season than usual and resulted in significant illness and death among children. We really need better treatments