The Flu: What is it and How to Stay Protected

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As a result of a new investigation by a team of researches at the MIT, it’s been revealed that when you get vaccinated to protect yourself from Flu, your body is known to develop immunity and helps you to stay unaffected. However, there’s a possibility of the virus to mutate or change slightly and this new form could be even more dangerous.

Also known as the “antigenic drift”, the mechanism involves amino acids that are responsible for the creation of protein hemagglutinnin which are the likeliest amino acids to undergo mutations that actually “enhances the virus mutations and inflict new hosts”

WHO belives that as new mutations of the Flu virus come into being, they should be included in the seasonal influenza vaccine since new mutations of the flu virus develop all around the world.

The influenza vaccine provokes the antibodies that are responsible to trigger the hemagglutinin (HA) protein and this causes the strain to change slightly evolving into a new form of virus ready to attack the non-infected.

While there is no way to predict which amino acids are likely to mutate under the influence of the already present vaccinations, there’s now an increasing need to create vaccines that can address this issue, says Sasisekharan — the Edward Hood Taplin Professor of Health Sciences, Technology and Biological Engineering at MIT and the director of the MIT division of Health Sciences and Technology.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, associated deaths due to flue have been between the ranges of 3000- 50,000 people. Symptoms of flu include fever, runny nose or stuffy nose, cough, muscle aches, headaches, immense fatigue, vomiting, and diarrhea. It’s important to get vaccinated since experts believe that the flu spreads easily as it is airborne from something as insignificant as a cough, sneeze, or even normal conversation. It is also possible to contract flu by touching objects, surfaces, or edges, touching their own mouths, eyes, or nose assuming that the flu virus is on these.

The flu is a highly contagious disease and can cause respiratory illness infecting the nose, the lungs, and the throat. It can be mild, cause sickness, or even cause death.



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