A delicate balancing act: immunity and immunopathology in human H7N9 influenza virus infections

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Purpose of reviewA delicate balance exists between a protective and detrimental immune response to an invading viral pathogen. Here, we review the latest advancements in our understanding of immunity and immunopathology during H7N9 influenza A virus (IAV) infections and its relevance to disease management and diagnosis.Recent findingsRecent studies have highlighted the role of specific leukocytes in the pathogenesis of H7N9 IAV infections and potential diagnostic role that host cytokine profiles can play in forecasting disease severity. Furthermore, alterations in diet have emerged as a possible preventive measure for severe IAV infections.SummaryThe recent emergence and continued evolution of H7N9 IAVs have emphasized the threat that these avian viruses pose to human health. Understanding the role of the host immune response in both disease protection and pathogenesis is an essential first step in the creation of novel therapeutic and preventive measures for H7N9 IAV infections.

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