(One reason) Why influenza kills.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature10921.html

An international group of scientists have found that people with a defective form of a specific protein are more likely to be killed by influenza. “Together these data reveal that the action of a single intrinsic immune effector, IFITM3, profoundly alters the course of influenza virus infection in mouse and humans.”  A more readable summary is found here:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21624-mutant-protein-may-allow-flu-to-kill.html

When I was in junior high, I worried about the cold war and nuclear bombs.  Now that I’m an adult with children, I worry about the environment, social injustice, and global pandemics.  Not constantly or obsessively, but if I am looking for something to worry about, it will most likely be one of these.  I think many of us are so far removed from death that the idea that you could lose many people that you know and love all at once from a pandemic is unimaginable.  I hope that research like this allows us to keep being naive to such horrors long into the future. Then we just have to learn to not pollute our own selves into extinction.

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