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Friendly bacteria fight the flu

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Microbes trigger immune response that suppresses infections. Helpful bacteria don't just aid digestion; they also fend off the flu, according to a report published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences1. A research team led by Akiko Iwasaki, an immunologist at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, found that mice treated with neomycin antibiotics were more susceptible than control mice to influenza viruses. It turned out that neomycin-sensitive bacteria naturally present in the mice's bodies provided a trigger that led to the production of T cells and antibodies that could fight an influenza infection in the lungs.

 
 

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