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Flu virus wipes out first wave of immune response

The immune system has the capacity to "remember" particular viruses and store those details in B memory cells that reside in the lungs to help ward off future infections. But a new study shows the flu virus takes advantage of this and uses the way the memory cells store its details to recognize and kill them, thus wiping out the immune system's first wave of defense against virus re-infection.

The study, which was led by the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, MA, is published online in a recent issue of Nature.

When a virus enters the body, the immune system sets about creating virus-specific B cells that make antibodies specific to the pathogen so they can bind to it and disarm it.

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