Antibiotics can increase influenza viruses
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Antibiotics are designed to destroy pathogens, but can also harm beneficial bacteria, making us more vulnerable to viruses. This is further evidence that the drug should not be administered imprudently, warn researchers.
WIf the mice are treated with antibiotics, the flu viruses will be easier. An international team, including researchers from Friborg, has proved it with elegance. In the lungs of antibiotic-treated mice, the viruses spread rapidly, as the scientists report in the journal Cell Reports. Antibiotics can kill pathogenic bacteria, but not viruses.
"We found that antibiotics could eliminate an early stage of flu prevention," said lead author Andreas Wack of the Francis Crick Institute in London, according to a statement from his institute. This is further evidence that antibiotics should not be administered recklessly.
Antibiotics not only destroy pathogens, but can also harm beneficial bacteria that facilitate digestion in the intestines of animals and humans. These bacteria also play a crucial role in defending against influenza viruses, as researchers have now shown to Wack.
The crucial tests: Two days after an infection with the influenza virus, mice administered antibiotics for several weeks had five times more virus in the lungs than control mice. Of the mice treated with antibiotics, only one-third survived infection with the influenza virus. In control mice, it was 80%.
If the mice first received antibiotics and later, intestinal bacteria were reused by stool transplantation, the antivirus cascade worked normally. As a result, intestinal bacteria emit an unknown signal to the cells of the lungs, which helps to defend against influenza viruses.
Inappropriate use in respiratory diseases
According to the study, the first line of defense against influenza viruses consists mainly of cells that line the lungs – and not so much as blood defense cells, as many researchers have thought until the end of the day. now. At receptors on the envelope of these lung epithelial cells anchor messenger substances, type 1 interferons.
The lung cell then forms special proteins that prevent influenza viruses from turning away and multiplying. After antibiotics, this pathway in the study was disrupted in mice. In the future, scientists want to explore the exact signaling pathway that leads intestinal bacteria to lung cells. From 2000 to 2015, antibiotics worldwide increased by 65%, researchers write with reference to a previous study.
This is largely due to the misuse of drugs in respiratory diseases due to air pollution or viruses. "The inappropriate use of antibiotics not only promotes antibiotic resistance and kills beneficial intestinal bacteria, but could also make us more vulnerable to viruses," warned Wack. "This could affect not only humans, but also livestock, because many farms around the world give antibiotics to prevent." In Germany, antibiotics can only be administered to cattle that deliver food after a veterinary prescription.