Lung viral and bacterial infections, like influenza and pneumonia, could be prevented through inhaled anaesthetics commonly used in surgeries, scientists suggest. New experiments have proven that the volatile anaesthetics, nitrous oxide and halothane, have powerful effects on the immune system that may soon aid treatment, particularly to help in flu vaccine shortages or limitations.
The new study, published in the journal Anesthesiology, suggests that the anaesthetics being used for more than a century and are common in operating rooms could help provide a new therapy for new viral and bacterial strains resistant to conventional vaccines and treatments. The researchers said that the findings may also help improve preparedness for future pandemics and seasonal flu outbreaks as the inhaled anaesthetics may be used to focus on host immunity.
“We hope our study opens the door to the development of new drugs and therapies that could change the infectious disease landscape,” study co-leader Krishnan Chakravarthy said in a press release.