Influenza and the challenge for immunology

Nat Immunol. 2006 May;7(5):449-55. doi: 10.1038/ni1343.


The continued westward dissemination of H5N1 influenza A viruses in avian populations and the nearly 50% mortality rate of humans infected with H5N1 are a source of great international concern. A mutant H5N1 virus with the capability to spread rapidly between humans could cause a global catastrophe. Governments have reacted by developing national response plans, stockpiling antiviral drugs and speeding up the development and approval of vaccines. Here we summarize what is known about the interaction between influenza A viruses and the mammalian host response, specifically emphasizing issues that might be of interest to the broader immunology community.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Birds / virology
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Influenza A Virus, H5N1 Subtype / immunology*
  • Influenza Vaccines / therapeutic use
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology*
  • Influenza, Human / immunology*
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Influenza Vaccines