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Study reveals why some people are better at fighting off the flu than others

Study reveals why some people are better at fighting off the flu than others

Study reveals why some people are better at fighting off the flu than others

New research is providing a deeper understanding of how our bodies react and fight off the common flu. It seems that the first strain of flu we encounter in childhood is a big factor in this.

The study, conducted by scientists from UCLA and the University of Arizona was published in PLoS Pathogens. Researchers found that people’s ability to fight off the virus is determined by not only the specific strains, but the sequence in which they are infected.

“Our immune system often struggles to recognise and defend against closely related strains of seasonal flu,” said Katelyn Gostic, lead author of the study. The study looked at health records from the Arizona Department of Health Services and compared the commons flu strain H1N1 and the more severe H3N2.

The discovered a key pattern in the data. Those who had been exposed to H1N1 first in childhood were less likely to be hospitalized if they encountered H1N1 later in life than those first exposed to H3N2. The same goes for those who first experienced H3N2 if they encountered H3N2 later in life.

Researchers said they hope studies like these will help “uncover clues useful to universal influenza vaccine development.”

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