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Flu might protect you from the common cold: Study

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London: Researchers have found that people who suffered from influenza were 70 per cent less likely to have acquired rhinoviruses, or the common cold.

For the study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, samples from 44,230 cases of acute respiratory illness, in 36,157 patients, were tested for 11 types of respiratory viruses over nine years at National Academy of Sciences (NHS) Greater Glasgow and Clyde board in UK.

“One really striking pattern in our data is the decline in cases of the respiratory virus rhinovirus, which is typically a mild common cold causing virus, occurring during winter, around the time that flu activity increases,” said study researcher Sema Nickbakhsh from the University of Glasgow.

During the study, the most striking interaction they found was between influenza A viruses and rhinoviruses, a type of virus that can cause the common cold.

Computer modelling of the data found that the inhibitory interactions between influenza and rhinoviruses appeared to occur within individual people as well as at a population level.

According to the study, patients with influenza were approximately 70 per cent less likely to also be infected with rhinovirus, than were patients infected with the other virus types.

“We believe respiratory viruses may be competing for resources in the respiratory tract. There are various possibilities we’re investigating, such as these viruses are competing for cells to infect in the body, or the immune response to one virus makes it harder for another unrelated virus to infect the same person,” Nickbakhsh said.

Limitations of the study include that the correlations observed cannot show what is causing these interactions and that samples were only taken from people with symptoms of a respiratory infection, so it may not capture how the viruses behave in people who don’t develop symptoms.

“A key thing to note with this research is that we’re looking at average risks over a very large number of patients who have sought healthcare – that’s not to say that occasionally unlucky individuals can’t be infected with influenza and a cold virus at the same time,” Nickbakhsh said.

The study looked at how 11 viruses interacted. It did find relationships between some of the other virus pairs, but these were not consistent at both the individual host and population level, which the study did find for influenza A and rhinovirus.

“Traditionally, people have studied viruses in isolation – you study only flu or rhinovirus – but we’ve shown here that we need to also be studying these viruses together like it’s an ecosystem,” said study lead researcher Pablo Murcia.



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Researchers develop coronavirus vaccine candidate

The next stage is to produce this on a larger scale needed for additional testing, to determine its effectiveness against the virus.

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Sydney, Feb 22 : A team of researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia has created their first vaccine candidate in the laboratory for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

The team will move immediately into further development before formal pre-clinical testing, the university said on Friday.

The proof-of-concept milestone comes in less than a month after the project’s announcement on January 24 as part of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) rapid response programme.

“There is still extensive testing to ensure that the vaccine candidate is safe and creates an effective immune response, but the technology and the dedication of these researchers means the first hurdle has been passed,” said University of Queensland Vice-Chancellor and President Peter Hoj AC.

The work in the lab shows the feasibility of using the university’s “molecular clamp” technology to engineer a vaccine candidate that could be more readily recognised by the immune system, triggering a protective immune response.

The next stage is to produce this on a larger scale needed for additional testing, to determine its effectiveness against the virus.

Researchers said the early research had gone “as expected” and the material created had the properties which allowed the team to proceed with vaccine development.

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Novel predicted coronavirus 40 years ago, Internet stumped

As the post went viral, Twitterati flooded the social media with their reactions.

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New Delhi, Feb 17: An excerpt of the Novel “The Eyes of Darkness”, a 1981 thriller by bestselling suspense author Dean Koontz is revolving around the social media which tells of a Chinese military lab that creates a virus as part of its biological weapons programme.

In chapter 39 of his book, Koontz writes that the lab is located in Wuhan, which lends the virus its name, Wuhan-400.

Congress leader Manish Tewari has also tweeted excerpts from a book that went viral on the Internet that the coronavirus involved in the outbreak in China’s Wuhan appears to be man-made.

“Is Coranavirus a biological Weapon developed by the Chinese called Wuhan -400? This book was published in 1981. Do read the excerpt,” Congress leader Manish Tewari tweeted.

Tewari highlighted a paragraph that read: “They call the stuff ‘Wuhan-400’ because it was developed at their RDNA labs outside of the city of Wuhan, and it was the four hundredth viable strain of man-made micro-organisms created at that centre.”

As the post went viral, Twitterati flooded the social media with their reactions.

A user wrote, “Haha Infinite monkey theorem. Pick any event and chances are that some book written at some would have a similar plot . Conspiracy theory has no end.”

Another wrote, “Sensational … No doubt China had replaced Russia and USSR as rogue country in Hollywood films and later James Bond movies.”

A post read, “Intriguing for sure, hope the truth comes out.”

A user remarked, “Okay if it is then it surely backfired on them!”

By the end of Sunday, a total of 1,770 people had died of the disease and 70,548 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection had been reported in 31 provincial-level regions and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps in China.

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WHO underestimates coronavirus’ ability to spread: Study

The World Health Organization estimates that the coronavirus has a transmissibility, expressed as a reproduction number, of between 1.4 and 2.5.

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Coronavirus

London, Feb 15 : The novel coronavirus may have greater ability to spread than the World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated so far, according to a review of previous studies of the virus’ transmissibility.

“Our review shows that the coronavirus is at least as transmissible as the SARS virus. And that says a great deal about the seriousness of the situation,” said Joacim Rocklov, Professor of Sustainable Health at Umea University in Sweden and one of the authors of the study, published in the Journal of Travel Medicine.

The World Health Organization estimates that the coronavirus has a transmissibility, expressed as a reproduction number, of between 1.4 and 2.5.

A reproduction number is a measurement of how many people a contaminated person transmits the virus to in a previously healthy population.

The higher the number, the more transferable the virus is and the higher the risk of its rapid spread.

When the reproduction number falls below 1.0, the epidemic is likely to die out.

Researchers in Umea in Sweden, Heidelberg in Germany and Zhangzhou in China have carried out a review of several scientific studies of the novel coronavirus.

In total, the researchers found twelve studies of sufficiently high quality.

The studies consisted of estimations of the growth rate based upon the cases observed in the Chinese population, and based upon statistical and mathematical methods.

The earliest studies of the coronavirus indicated a relatively low transmissibility. Thereafter, the transmissibility rose rapidly to stabilise between 2-3 in the most recent studies.

The reproduction number in the studies summed up to a mean of 3.28, and a median of 2.79, which is significantly higher than the World Health Organization’s estimation of 1.4-2.5.

“When looking at the development of the corona epidemic, reality seems to correspond well to or even exceed the highest epidemic growth in our calculations. Despite all intervention and control activities, the coronavirus has already spread to a significantly higher extent than SARS did,” said Rocklov.

The overall death toll in China due to the deadly coronavirus on Saturday increased to 1,523, with a total of 66,492 confirmed cases, authorities said.

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