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Smoking's Impact on Influenza Pathogenesis and LIAV Response

Institution: University of California, Riverside
Investigator(s): Jerald Chavez,
Award Cycle: 2019 (Cycle 30) Grant #: T30DT1060 Award: $99,061
Subject Area: Pulmonary Disease
Award Type: Dissertation Awards

Initial Award Abstract
Smoking increases the risk of contracting infectious lung diseases such as Influenza virus and results in more severe symptoms and slower health recovery. Influenza A virus (Flu A) and Influenza B (Flu B) virus both cause seasonal epidemics, however no model of how smoking affects Flu B infections exists even though Flu B makes up a larger number of yearly Flu cases and deaths. In addition, the nature of these viruses allows them to quickly adapt to vaccines requiring yearly updates. Smoking is associated with decreased vaccine effectiveness, meaning that should these viruses adapt to these vaccines too quickly, smokers would be the most adversely population affected by these seasonal epidemics. Modeling how smoking affects Flu A and Flu B infections together would increase our understanding of how the virus behaves in response to smoking and would also provide a new platform for the development of new strategies to prevent and treat infections for at risk smoking populations and the general public at large, potentially saving many more lives in the event of severe epidemics.