In recent years, there has been increasing evidence that bacteria in the gut contribute to a range of processes in the body and brain that help to keep us healthy. There is also growing awareness of the dangers of inappropriately prescribing antibiotics, which can lead to the emergence of drug-resistant strains (antimicrobial resistance) and kill helpful bacteria in the gut.
New research from the Francis Crick Institute has investigated the link between flu severity and gut bacteria in mice. They compared the severity of flu in mice with normal healthy gut bacteria, mice given antibiotics, and antibiotic-treated mice whose gut bacteria were repopulated via faecal transplant. The study reveals how antibiotics and gut bacteria affect the severity of flu infection, and how the lining of the lung provides a key first line of defence, with important implications for future antibiotic use in humans and livestock.
Dr Andreas Wack: Group Leader at the Francis Crick Institute. Andreas leads the Immunoregulation Laboratory, which studies the factors affecting the severity of flu symptoms.