Anaesthesia may help us fight flu

New York, Sep 2 (IANS) Certain so-called “volatile” anaesthetics — commonly used during surgeries — may also possess powerful effects on the immune system that can combat viral and bacterial infections in the lung, including influenza and pneumonia, say researchers, including one of Indian-origin.

The findings suggest that volatile anaesthetics may someday be helpful for combatting seasonal and pandemic influenza, particularly when there are flu vaccine shortages or limitations.

“A therapy based on these inhaled drugs may help deal with new viral and bacterial strains that are resistant to conventional vaccines and treatments,” said Krishnan Chakravarthy, resident physician in the department of anaesthesiology and critical care medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Maryland, US.

To examine just how some inhaled anaesthetic drugs affect viral and bacterial infections, the researchers exposed mice to both influenza virus and Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria.

The team discovered that giving the animals volatile anaesthetics, such as halothane, led to decreased bacterial burden and lung injury following infection.

The anaesthetics augmented the anti-bacterial immune response after influenza viral infection by blocking chemical signaling that involves type-I interferon, a group of proteins that help regulate the activity of the immune system, the study said.

Animals that were exposed to halothane had 450-fold less viable bacteria compared with non-halothane exposed animals, the findings showed.

“We hope our study opens the door to the development of new drugs and therapies that could change the infectious disease landscape,” Chakravarthy noted.

The findings appeared in the journal Anesthesiology.

Leave a Reply

Please enter your comment!

The opinions, views, and thoughts expressed by the readers and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of or any employee thereof. is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the readers. Responsibility for the content of comments belongs to the commenter alone.  

We request the readers to refrain from posting defamatory, inflammatory comments and not indulge in personal attacks. However, it is obligatory on the part of to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments to the concerned authorities upon their request.

Hence we request all our readers to help us to delete comments that do not follow these guidelines by informing us at Lets work together to keep the comments clean and worthful, thereby make a difference in the community.

Please enter your name here