Leukotriene modifying agents in the prevention of excess morbidity and mortality from influenza

Braciale, Thomas JHartert, Tina V

Influenza is a major worldwide human pathogen that can cause severe illness and death, with some of the greatest morbidity occurring among children < 5 years, asthmatics, individuals with other chronic diseases, pregnant women, older adults, the unvaccinated, and those experiencing first infection. This study aims to explore a very novel hypothesis, extending evidence from animal and in vitro studies that administration of readily available and safe oral asthma drugs called leukotriene modifying agents may decrease influenza- related morbidity, including primary influenza pneumonia, and associated mortality. If these concepts are validated in humans by the proposed combined epidemiological investigation and in vitro studies on the effect of this class of asthma drugs on human lung cells, then an immediately available therapy could be tested in trials, or used during pandemic influenza that could significantly reduce influenza-related morbidity and mortality, resulting in great clinical and public health benefit.