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Publications

Bacteria were the real killers in 1918 flu pandemic – New Scientist (2008)

Medical and scientific experts now agree that bacteria, not influenza viruses, were the greatest cause of death during the 1918 flu pandemic.

…That pneumonia causes most deaths in an influenza outbreak is well known. Late 19th century physicians recognised pneumonia as the cause of death of most flu victims. While doctors limited fatalities in other 20th-century outbreaks with antibiotics such as penicillin, which was discovered in 1928, but did not see use in patients until 1942.

…McCullers’ research suggests that influenza kills cells in the respiratory tract, providing food and a home for invading bacteria. On top of this, an overstressed immune system makes it easier for the bacteria to get a foothold.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn14458-bacteria-were-the-real-killers-in-1918-flu-pandemic/

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News

Bacteria in your GUT affects your immune response to Covid-19 and could influence how severely you suffer symptoms, study finds – Dail Mail

  • South Korean study reviewed pre-existing research on role of gut microbiome  
  • Hong Kong-based scientists examined blood and stool samples from patients 
  • Both studies indicate a gut microbe imbalance is key in severe Covid-19

The study concludes the gut microbiome may be involved in the ‘magnitude of Covid-19 severity possibly via modulating host immune responses’.

The authors found that patients with Covid-19 had depleted levels of several gut bacteria known to modify a person’s immune response.

https://web.archive.org/web/20210112140105/https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-9137823/Bacteria-GUT-affects-Covid-19-severity.html

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Publications

Microbial Exposure During Early Life Has Persistent Effects on Natural Killer T Cell Function – Science

Exposure to microbes during early childhood is associated with protection from immune-mediated diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and asthma. Here, we show that in germ-free (GF) mice, invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells accumulate in the colonic lamina propria and lung, resulting in increased morbidity in models of IBD and allergic asthma as compared with that of specific pathogen-free mice. This was associated with increased intestinal and pulmonary expression of the chemokine ligand CXCL16, which was associated with increased mucosal iNKT cells. Colonization of neonatal—but not adult—GF mice with a conventional microbiota protected the animals from mucosal iNKT accumulation and related pathology. These results indicate that age-sensitive contact with commensal microbes is critical for establishing mucosal iNKT cell tolerance to later environmental exposures.

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/336/6080/489

Categories
Opinion

SCIENTIST REVEALS WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO LET YOUR KIDS BE EXPOSED TO GERMS – The Independent (2017)

Parents are over-sterlising the environments of their children because they don’t understand why dirt is good for us, a germ expert says.

Professor Jack Gilbert said that exposure to microbes prevalent in the great outdoors will establish a stronger, more robust immune system in young people.

“Most parents think all germs are bad, that is not true. Most will just stimulate your immune system and make you stronger,” Prof Gilbert told The Independent.

…Prof Gilbert also claims that hand sanitizer is more damaging to a child’s health than soapy water. According to Prof Gilbert, children’s immune systems were more healthy and robust than they are today because of more relaxed attitudes to germs. He explains that more fermented foods which contain bacteria, enable children higher exposure to animals, plants and soil more often.

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/why-its-important-expose-kids-germs-scientist-explains-jack-gilbert-children-babies-immune-systems-a7845031.html