Scientists discover influenza's Achilles heel: Antioxidants
New research in the FASEB Journal opens the door for new drugs that could prevent severe flu-related lung damage
As the nation copes with a shortage of vaccines for H1N1 influenza, a team of Alabama researchers have raised hopes that they have found an Achilles' heel for all strains of the flu—antioxidants. In an article appearing in the November 2009 print issue of the FASEB Journal (http://www.fasebj.org) they show that antioxidants—the same substances found in plant-based foods—might hold the key in preventing the flu virus from wreaking havoc on our lungs.
"The recent outbreak of H1N1 influenza and the rapid spread of this strain across the world highlights the need to better understand how this virus damages the lungs and to find new treatments," said Sadis Matalon, co-author of the study. "Additionally, our research shows that antioxidants may prove beneficial in the treatment of flu."
"Although vaccines will remain the first line of intervention against the flu for a long time to come, this study opens the door for entirely new treatments geared toward stopping the virus after you're sick," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the FASEB Journal, "and as Thanksgiving approaches, this discovery is another reason to drink red wine to your health."