Antibiotics blunt flu immunity

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Science  11 Oct 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6462, pp. 197-198
DOI: 10.1126/science.366.6462.197-f

The microbiome influences our immune system and how we respond to various physiological stresses. Hagan et al. report that depleting gut microbiota reduces the ability of influenza vaccine to induce functional immunity in humans. The researchers conducted a small clinical trial of healthy individuals who had low prior exposure either to influenza virus or to the vaccine. One group took a course of broad-spectrum antibiotics before receiving the vaccine, while the other group did not take antibiotics and only received the vaccine. Antibiotic use diminished the gut microbiome composition and impaired the ability of the immune system to generate antibodies. Treatment with antibiotics also disturbed bile acid metabolism and caused inflammatory responses.

Cell 178, 1313 (2019).

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