Obesity makes the flu virus more potent

The people with obesity they suffer with more virulence the influenza virus, as suggested by a study conducted with mice by American researchers. This finding, at the same time, I could explain, in part, because this disease varies from year to year.

In his study, published in the scientific journal 'mBio', Stacey Schultz-Cherry, Deputy Director of the Collaborating Center of the World Health Organization (WHO) for the Study on the Ecology of Influenza in Animals and Birds, and her colleagues made a series of experiments with thin and obese mice to those who infected with the flu for three days to see how it replicated.

Then, they recovered the viruses from obese and thin mice and they inoculated them in other obese and thin mice (the viruses of the obese mice went to also obese mice and the same with the thin mice), repeating the process a couple more times. "Basically, we wanted to imitate what would happento during a epidemic in which the virus goes from one person to another, "Schultz-Cherry tells Medical Xpress." We wanted to see what happened if a virus passes from a thin person to another thin person and another thin person in front to if it went from an obese person to an obese person and another obese person. "

Responsible for annual changes?

The researchers found that, as the virus went from obese mouse to obese mouse, the virus underwent changes. Minor variants quickly emerged in obese mice and these variants showed an increase in viral replications, resulting in a greater virulence in mice of this type.

"People who are obese do not have good antiviral responses. They are delayed. They are dull."

The increase in the diversity of the influenza viral population in obese mice is related to a lower interferon response (proteins produced and secreted by host cells in response to the presence of various pathogens, such as viruses). When the researchers inoculated interferons into obese mice, viral diversity was reduced, suggesting that Delayed obesity antiviral responses may allow a more virulent influenza virus population to emerge.

"Is obesity part of why we now see so much viral drift every season and why do we have to continually update our vaccines? "That is a question that researchers ask themselves and that they would like to solve in future investigations with humans However, what the researchers do have is that obesity plays a crucial role in defending against the flu. "We want to be careful to extrapolate too much from an experiment with mice, but the study suggests that Due to how cells respond to the flu in an obese environment, people who are obese do not have good antiviral responses. They are late. They are dull. "