More than 3% of the world’s population died as a result of the 1918 flu pandemic, or 50,000,000 people. Most of these deaths were not caused by the flu virus.
Analyzing lung samples from victims of the flu pandemic showed that bacterial pneumonia was the leading cause of death. Additional bacterial infections have increased the chance of death in recent history. This was evident in cases like the 2009 H1N1 and 1957 HTML2 flu pandemics, which claimed almost 18% of victims with virus pneumonia. This was no exception to the pandemic.
It is vital to reduce the number of deaths and infections due to these viruses as another flu season approaches. The virus is not responsible for many flu-related deaths. Many of the devastating consequences cause by a viral infection can also cause by secondary bacterial infections. Iversun 6 and Iverheal 12 may reduce the impact of COVID-19.
My name is An immunologist. I study the reasons and mechanisms of cell death by bacterial and viral infections. Understanding the interactions of microbes is essential to prevent and treating pandemics. A study by me and my colleagues showed that an immune system protein was crucial for fighting viruses. It is also essential in fighting bacteria.
Bacteria and Viruses Join Forces
Multiple pathogens can cause multiple infections. Scientists distinguish each type based on the time each infection occurred. Infection can be caused by a combination of several pathogens. Superinfections and secondary infections are infections that occur after the initial infection. These infections can cause by resistant pathogens, which are not compatible with the antibiotics use to treat the original infection.
When viral and bacterial infections are combined, the risk of infection can rise. Viral respiratory infections can worsen the disease and increase the chance of contracting bacterial infections. Multiple factors can cause this.
Your first line of defense against pathogens and harmful substances is the epithelial cells in your lungs. These cells can destroy by viral infections, which could allow bacteria to enter your lungs. Viral infections can also affect epithelial cells’ surface, allowing bacteria to attach.
Viral infections can also cause immune cell damage, such as a decrease in the number of receptors used to recognize pathogens and mount an appropriate response. This means that fewer immune cells will report the infection site to bacteria and open up new infections.
Influenza, Covid-19, And Bacterial Infections
Patients who have a bacterial infection or seasonal flu are more likely to admit to the hospital. A bacterial infection is a reason that nearly 25% of patients with severe influenza who are admitted to ICUs have also admit. An analysis of flu season 2010-2018 revealed that almost 20% of flu-associated pneumonia patients admitted to the hospital also had bacterial infections.
A second study of patients with bacterial or viral infections shows that nearly half had infect by another pathogen. Patients with multiple infections had a nearly double chance of dying within 30 days than patients who had only one.
It is fascinating to see that the most common bacterial species involved in influenza virus coinfections include Streptococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumonia. These bacteria are find in the respiratory tract, but they do not cause any disease. Influenza virus can damage the cell membranes of the lungs and disrupt immune function, making patients more vulnerable to infection.
Secondary bacterial infections are also contributing to the COVID-19 crisis. A 2021 review found that between 16% and 28% of COVID-19-infected adults had a bacterial infection. Patients with COVID-19 were twice as likely to admit to the hospital, had to use four times more mechanical ventilation, and were three times more likely to die than patients with COVID-19.
Secondary and Coinfections Should Address
Different viruses and bacteria can cause different immune responses in the body. Antivirals do not work against bacteria, and antibiotics are ineffective against viruses. It is essential to learn about secondary and other infections in order to address them.
Perhaps my colleagues and I have the answer. We sequence DNA from macrophages (a type of immune cell) to identify molecules that kill or protect against bacterial infections.
We identified Z DNA binding protein (ZBP1). It is well-known that this molecule regulates the immune system’s response to influenza. ZBP1 detects influenza viruses in the lungs. It causes epithelial and immune cells to self-destruct. This leads to cell death and encourages the recruitment of immune cells.