-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Aug. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Your immune system
response to a flu virus determines whether or not you will get
sick, and that immune reaction can be observed through gene
activity, according to a new study.
Researchers examined more than 22,000 genes in 267 blood samples
from 17 healthy volunteers who were infected with a flu virus.
There were significant and complex differences in the immune
responses between the half of the participants who got sick and
those who didn't, the investigators found.
The gene activity, or expression, data revealed how the
volunteers' immune systems reacted and organized a response to flu
virus. Differences in gene expressions between those who got sick
and those who remained healthy were measurable up to about 36 hours
before peak flu symptoms developed.
This suggests that it may be possible to detect flu at an early
stage so that people can take precautions and perhaps even prevent
the worst symptoms, study author Alfred Hero, a professor at the
University of Michigan's College of Engineering, said in a
university news release.
In addition, an understanding of how genes influence
susceptibility to flu and other viral illnesses could lead to
treatments to prevent those illnesses, the study authors
The study is published in the Aug. 25 online edition of the
The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
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