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Nature Med. The Ongoing Battle Against Influenza: The challenge of flu transmission

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  • Nature Med. The Ongoing Battle Against Influenza: The challenge of flu transmission

    [Source: Nature Medicine, full text: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]
    The Ongoing Battle Against Influenza: The challenge of flu transmission

    Seema S Lakdawala<SUP>1 </SUP>& Kanta Subbarao<SUP>1</SUP>
    <SUP></SUP>
    Journal name: Nature Medicine / Volume: 18, Pages: 1468–1470 / Year published: (2012) / DOI: doi:10.1038/nm.2953

    Published online 05 October 2012



    Abstract

    Influenza viruses can cause a broad spectrum of disease severity, including devastating cases in some people. Several factors influence the epidemiological success of the virus; the mechanisms of transmission and the strategies for prevention and treatment have an impact on the disease outcome and the incidence of flu infection in the population. Understanding how and why the viruses spread so efficiently among people and determining possible ways to harness this transmission have been arduous tasks, given the limitations of flu animal models. In 'Bedside to Bench', Kanta Subbarao and Seema S. Lakdawala peruse a study that used a human challenge model to assess influenza transmission; this experimental approach shows how transmission can be studied in humans and emphasizes factors that are different compared to animals, such as distinct disease severity and incidence. Lessons can be taken to optimize animal studies. Another issue that dictates the severity of flu episodes is the potential emergence of drug-resistant strains in treated individuals. In 'Bench to Bedside', Anne Kelso and Aeron C. Hurt discuss another concern—the presence of drug-resistant viruses with additional permissive mutations that make them fit to infect and compete with wild-type strains. The fact that these strains can be found in untreated people and can spread poses a public health concern and a challenge for scientists to find new drugs and assess antiviral combinations.



    Seema S. Lakdawala and Kanta Subbarao are in the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.

    Competing financial interests: The authors declare no competing financial interests.


    Corresponding author: Correspondence to: Kanta Subbarao
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