The threat of flu looms large in the northern hemisphere as winter starts to set in. But getting a preventative shot might not be the best line of defence any more — because new research suggests a small dose of crystal meth might be effective too.
Researchers, from the National Health Research Institutes in Taiwan and the University of Regensburg in Germany, have been working together to investigate how methamphetamine interacts with different viral infections. Meth is a widely abused drug, and there’s a wealth of evidence that suggests chronic use can dramatically increase the risk of picking up viruses because it suppresses the immune response of the body.
The researchers guessed the same would be true for influenza, but, like all good scientists, they had to prove their hypothesis — so they set to testing it out. First, they took human lung cells and nurtured them in the lab before exposing some of them to cystal meth. They then exposed the cells to the H1N1 influenza virus.
What they observed surprised them. Instead of increasing the rate of development and spread of the virus, meth seems to reduce susceptibility to flu. The results are published in PLoS One — via redwolf.newsvine.com