Scientists from the Max F. Perutz Laboratories (MFPL) of the University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna have provided insights into how much harm bacteria can cause to the lung of people having the flu. An infection with both the flu and bacteria can be a fatal combination.
Lung cells infected with influenza virus (stained green) and Legionella (stained red). The nucleus of the cell is stained blue. (Copyright: A. Jamieson)
The results could prompt the development of alternative treatments for flu-related bacterial infections, to improve patient outcome and prevent permanent lung damage. The study is published in the renown journal “Science”.A potentially fatal combination: the flu and bacteria
Amanda Jamieson and her collaborators could show now that the damage to the lung tissue caused by a co-infection with flu and Legionella is not properly repaired, as the influenza virus suppresses the body’s ability to repair tissue damage. In case of an additional Legionella infection this may lead to fatal pneumonia. However, treatment with drugs that activate tissue repair pathways significantly improved the outcome. This suggests that new treatment options to deal with co-infections of flu and bacteria should be explored. Amanda Jamieson, who will take up an Assistant Professorship at Brown University, USA, in two months, says: “My group will continue to work on tissue repair models and explore different avenues for the treatment of flu/bacterial co-infections.”Original publication in Science Express:
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