Field of Science

Viruses at the crossroads of infection

Last week I wrote about a recent paper showing that in some cases influenza viruses can escape from the lungs of an infected person; here, it makes it's way to the local lymph nodes by infecting your lung's sentinal immune cells, the dendritic cells. In this instance, this mechanism is probably being used by our own body's as a defence: by capturing influenza virus in the lung we can kick start our immune system by handing it directly to T and B cells within the lymph nodes. But it can also have deadly implication, especially considering that possibly every virus will have some run in with a dendritic cell during an infection.

**for a great discussion of what goes on inside lymph nodes during the induction of an immune response, see last weeks This Week in Virology**