How antibiotics can make flu infections worse by wiping out important gut bacteria

By Rich Haridy: For More Info, Go Here…

The over-prescription of antibiotics is a major problem in the world today, leading to the dramatic rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. New research led by scientists from the Francis Crick Institute in London is suggesting not only are antibiotics ineffective for individuals suffering from influenza, but they can actually worsen the initial viral infection.

The first line of defense against a flu infection is in our lungs. This is where the notorious virus usually begins its infection. The new study describes how the body’s early defense strategy involves a process called type I interferon signaling. This primary immune response triggers antiviral genes in cells lining the lung, which subsequently inhibit the speed of a replicating virus.

“Previous studies have focused on immune cells, but we found that the lining cells are more important for the crucial early stages of infection,” says Andreas Wack, senior author on the new study. “They are the only place that the virus can multiply, so they are the key battleground in the fight against flu.”

Investigating what can modulate this interferon signaling and affect how well our body fights back in the earliest stages of a flu infection, the researchers discovered an antibiotic treatment of just two to four weeks directly inhibits this process.
“It takes around two days for immune cells to mount a response, in which time the virus is multiplying in the lung lining,” explains Wack. “Two days after infection, antibiotic-treated mice had five times more virus in their lungs. To face this bigger threat, the immune response is much stronger and more damaging, leading to more severe symptoms and worse outcomes.”

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