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National Institute of Allergy and
Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
http://www.niaid.nih.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2006

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NIAID MEDIA AVAILABILITY:
Understanding Influenza Infection

WHAT:

The current flu season is underway and much attention is focused on the recent outbreaks of a deadly avian influenza virus in Asia and southeastern Europe. Understanding how influenza viruses cause infection and how the human immune system attempts to fight off the invaders offers a basis for developing new influenza vaccines and treatments that could potentially combat seasonal influenza or worse, a global pandemic.

In a commentary appearing online Jan. 17 in Immunity, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., and leading NIAID influenza vaccine researchers Brian R. Murphy, M.D., and Kanta Subbarao, M.D., M.P.H., discuss

  • How influenza viruses function
  • Why the human immune system effectively wards off flu infection in some cases but not others
  • The difference between antigenic “drift” and “shift”
  • The scenario that could create a flu pandemic
  • The practical and immunological challenges to developing protective vaccines
ARTICLE: “The Immunology of Influenza Infection” by Kanta Subbarao, Brian R. Murphy, and Anthony S. Fauci. Immunity DOI: 10.1016/j.immuni.2005.12.005 (2006).
SPOKESPERSON:   NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., is available to discuss the article.
CONTACT: To schedule interviews, contact Kathy Stover in the NIAID Office of Communications and Public Liaison, (301) 402-1663, kstover@niaid.nih.gov.

NIAID conducts and supports research—at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide—to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site at www.niaid.nih.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

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Important note: Information on this page was accurate at the time of publication. This page is no longer being updated.
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Last Updated January 17, 2006