Affiliation: Defence Research and Development Canada - Suffield, Box 4000, Station Main, Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada T1A 8K6.
Influenza A virus poses a direct threat to humans and results in the deaths of about 36,000 people each year in USA. There is tremendous concern that highly virulent variants of the virus may emerge and cause a major pandemic. The influenza virus attacks the respiratory tracts and may cause acute lung inflammation. Certain evidence suggests that the lethal effect of the influenza virus results from inflammation of the host lung rather than from direct viral cytopathy. This has led to the concept that co-administration of effective antiviral agents with inflammation attenuators, by which a reduction, but not an elimination of inflammation would improve lung function without compromising virus clearance, and might result in a better treatment outcome of virulent influenza. Anti-inflammatory antibodies are widely developed for treatment of inflammatory diseases such as Crohns disease, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and so on. This review focuses on anti-inflammatory antibodies and discusses the feasibility and prospects for using them to attenuate the host inflammatory responses in the lung for the treatment and disease management of virulent influenza.