Blocking the effects of viral infections may prevent asthma in young children

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Babies who get severe viral lung infections are much more likely to suffer from asthma as they get older.

“A severe respiratory infection in infancy greatly increases the risk of developing asthma,” says the study’s lead author Mitchell Grayson, M.D., assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Allergy and Immunology.

“Less than one in 30 people who don’t suffer a severe respiratory infection as a baby develop asthma, but of those who do get these infections, one in five goes on to have asthma.”

Researchers found that mice that developed asthma-like symptoms after a severe respiratory viral infection had an unusual immune reaction similar to that produced during an allergic response instead of the response usually shown to infection.

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