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Infection Roundup

November 11, 2011

New research suggests that fevers may boost the immune system.


Fever benefits. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Having a fever can be uncomfortable, but it may help your body fight off an infection. In the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, scientists report that mice with elevated temperatures produced more of a kind of white blood cell that destroys cells infected with viruses. Researchers had thought that high temperatures fought infection mostly by suppressing germs’ ability to reproduce. The new research suggests it also helps boost our immune response.

In other news, University of Virginia researchers are studying a type of bacteria that attacks other bacteria, in hopes of making a living antibiotic. The idea would be to train the microbe to seek out and destroy other bacteria that are making us sick. Many disease-causing microbes are becoming resistant to conventional antibiotics. Using killer bugs to hunt them down could be a novel alternative. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.