Pandemic flu–cytokine storm

One of the key reasons why pandemic flu kills you is the cytokine storm–essentially a hyper-effective response of the immune system. The cytokine storm, in response to the invading flu virus, essentially leads to massive organ failure. Here’s a recent article from PNAS about strategies to control the flu-induced cytokine storm. The notion is that if we could do so, pandemic flu would, like seasonal flu, just be a miserable experience–not a life threatening one.

And here’s another article from PLoS showing just how complex this system really is. Recent attempts to dial down the cytokine storm using biologicals have been problematic.

Jim