Researchers use computational modeling to understand why some flu viruses cause more severe infections

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Avian influenza viruses, or “bird flu,” usually infect, well, birds. But when the virus infects people, it can cause more illness than other flu-like viruses.

Research led by Jason Shoemaker of the University of Pittsburgh uses it model design to try to understand the body immune response to the flu. His latest work, published in the journal Viruses, found that interferon levels may be responsible for its severe manifestations—and may be the key to treating it.

“It’s hard to see what’s going on inside human body when she was infected with a virusbut our mathematical model can help us understand immune system“What happened, and where we can help it work better,” said Shoemaker, who is an assistant professor of chemistry and engineering in the Swanson School of Engineering. “We need more models to understand what’s really going on. High-risk people if they get infected to put them at risk. Then we can figure out how to treat them better.”

Shoemaker and co-authors Emily Ackerman and Jordan Weaver, graduate students in Shoemaker’s ImmunoSystems Lab, used data from mice infected with either H5N1, avian influenza (or the virus that causes it), or H1N1 , mild swine flu. They then used the engineering approach to model and predict viral replication and key immune responses to viral infections, including interferon levels and immune cell activity.

By analyzing the different biological responses, the researchers were able to determine that the high production of interferon led to the specific immune response seen in the mice. In other words, the high viral load and the resulting production of interferon by cells in the lungs after H5N1 infection seem to be the main reason for the differences in the results of infection.

“This model provides additional evidence for the theory that interferon is produced earlier and more aggressively by the H5N1 strain than by other viruses,” Shoemaker said. “Interferon then appears to be a major factor in determining the course of the disease and in explaining the immune response we see in H5N1 infections.”

Although the recent paper did not look specifically at SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, the findings could provide researchers with a way to develop better treatments. The team’s modeling work revealed other factors that may be at play, as well. For example, the lab is also using an agent-based model to understand why women often experience a negative immune response to the flu.

Type-I interferon prevents the immune system from ‘going off the rails’ during infection

Additional information:
Emily E. Ackerman et al, Mathematical Analysis Finds a Divided Value of Creative Intelligence in the Real Estate, Bacteria (2022). DOI: 10.3390/v14050906

Its availability
University of Pittsburgh

hint: Researchers use modeling to understand why some flu viruses cause severe disease (2022, July 23) retrieved 23 July 2022 from 07-flu-viruses-severe-infections.html

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