Study Unleashes Genetic Link behind Flu

NHSWhile there is no doubt that flu claims many lives, a recent study has claimed to have found the actual reason behind the same. It has been found through a combined study by researchers at Edinburgh University's Roslin Institute and clinicians at NHS Lothian that there is a gene which is responsible for one to succumb to flu infections.

Though flu can affect people of any age, it has been found that there are fair chances that people who are healthy enough to found themselves at the risk of the same due to the existence of the culprit gene in the name of IFITM3. It was found that the gene has the tendency to produce a protein which can protects cells against range of infections, but there is a variant of the gene which cannot produce the desired limit of the protein, which could make one susceptible to flu infections.

Published in the journal Nature, the study found patients who were hospitalized in Scottish intensive care units during the 2009/10 swine flu pandemic had a variant of the same culprit gene. It was only after taking the blood samples from the previously healthy patients that it could be concluded that the questioned variant of the culprit of the gene was found in some 5.3% of patients in intensive care with flu.

"The answer as to why some people become seriously affected by flu and others don't was a mystery, but this study shows for the first time it may be because they are more genetically susceptible to the virus”, said Professor Tim Walsh, a consultant and professor of critical care medicine at Edinburgh University, who is of the view that there is need that some sort of precautions can be informed to patients with such variant of the gene.