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Clues on why H1N1 virus kills
Published on 17 Dec. 2009 12:44 AM IST
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Canadian and Spanish scientists have found a molecule in H1N1, or swine flu called Interleukin 17 (IL-17) to be the first potential immunological clue of why some people develop severe pneumonia when infected by the H1N1 virus. According to a statement by the University of Toronto, IL-17 is produced by the body and is important in the normal regulation of white blood cells which fight infection and disease. But in certain circumstances, the molecule becomes out of control, leading to inflammation and autoimmune diseases like H1N1. “In rare cases, the virus (molecule) causes lung infections requiring patients to be treated in hospital. By targeting or blocking Th17 in the future, we could potentially reduce the amount of inflammation in the lungs,’’ Canadian professor David Kelvin, who was part of the research team, said.

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