Tag Archives: influenza

Flu Season is coming

The weather is getting cold. We can see people who get flu (influenza). I also had flu and could not leave from the bed for a weak. During staying in the bed for a weak, I wanted to know more about flu and how can we prevent this flu from our ordinary life.




What is flu?

Influenza is well known as “the flu.” It is an infectious disease of birds and mammals caused by RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae. The most common symptoms are fever, sore throat, muscle pains, headache, coughing, and general discomfort. However having influenza also forces you to infecting other diseases. Flu can affect the lungs. Seniors old people, young children, and people who have lung or heart diseases, certain chronic health conditions, or weakened immune systems.

YouTube Preview Image

Transition passage of flu

Influenza can be spread in three main ways. First is by direct transmission. Influenza can also be transmitted by direct contact with bird droppings or nasal secretions, or through contact with contaminated surfaces. Second is by the airborne route. The most of influenza is transmitted through the air by coughs or sneezes from other people. Air contains the virus and when people breathe, the virus goes into other people’s body. The last is through hand-to-eye, hand-to-nose, or hand-to-mouth transmission. All the routes are from contaminated surfaces or from direct personal contact such as a hand-shake. Especially in the airborne route, the droplets that are small enough for people to inhale are 0.5 to 5 µm in diameter and inhaling just one droplet might be enough to cause an infection. Also influenza survives in airborne with low humidity and a lack of sunlight in winter aiding its survival.



Mechanism of flu

The mechanisms of influenza infection is the inhibition of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) resulting in lowered cortisol levels. Therefore it will cause fatigue and headache. Also influenza invades cells and the cleavage of the viral hemagglutinin protein can not work normally. The normal structure of the hemagglutinin can only be cleaved by proteases and viruses cannot infect other tissues. However, influenza harms the hemagglutinin structure and infect other tissues in lungs.

How to prevent flu?



How can we prevent from the flu in this cold winter season? For the accurate answer for preventing flu, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend 3 steps to prevent from the flu.

First is take time to get a flu vaccine.

Second is hygiene and actions to stop the spread of germs-washing hands, covering nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, avoid touching eyes, noses, and mouth

The last step is taking flu antiviral drugs which the doctor prescribed. Wrong antiviral drugs can make illness worse and people have different flu virus, so the antiviral drugs are not always work for every situation.

Discovery of the first natural antiviral

Penicillin was discovered as the first antibiotic by Alexander Fleming, who isolated it from fungus in 1928. This is considered to have been a huge breakthrough as its discovery led to the successful treatment of cases of bacterial disease, saving millions of lives, although its misuse has now made many types of bacteria resistant. However, natural antivirals have not previously been discovered, despite the prevalence of diseases caused by viruses including Ebola, HIV and influenza.

Japanese/Chinese honeysuckle. Source: Creative Commons

Japanese/Chinese honeysuckle.
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this year, researchers in China discovered what they call MIR2911, a product that prevents the reproduction of influenza A viruses (IAV). According to the researchers, the Japanese/Chinese herb honeysuckle has been used to treat the flu for thousands of years, and some studies (1, 2) show that it suppresses the reproduction of IAV. However, until now, the active compound responsible for this was unknown, as well as its mechanism of action.

Electron micrograph of IAV Source: Creative Commons

Electron micrograph of IAV
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The researchers found that MIR2911 acts against IAVs such as H1N1, H5N1, and H7N9, which have been responsible for the swine flu, avian flu, and Spanish flu pandemics respectively. MIR2911 suppresses IAV by binding directly to the influenza virus and inhibiting the expression of two genes that are vital in the replication of influenza viruses.

This is an important discovery as there has previously been no natural antivirals discovered, and this presents a novel therapeutic agent that can be used not only against influenza A, but potentially other viruses as well, due to its broad spectrum. The researchers say that their discovery is something akin to a “virological penicillin” that can be used and chemically modified, as has been done to penicillin, to produce drugs that can treat the flu. Hopefully, we will have learned from our use of penicillin in order to try to prevent widespread antiviral drug resistance.

The following video is about flu viruses and how they infect us:

YouTube Preview Image

Source (user): maia86magnoly