Influenza (flu) is a relatively mild and self-limiting illness in most cases, but can be fatal among vulnerable groups such as the very old, very young or people with compromised immune systems. Occasionally, it may also cause unexpected deaths in apparently healthy children and younger adults, and this is a worrying public health issue.
None of the SNPs showed association, refuting the theory that the people who died might have had a genetic vulnerability to the virus via these two genes. However, MBL2 variants in patients who died were apparently linked with co-infection with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria.
Comment: This is an example of how host genomics may become an important element of public health research for the control of infectious diseases. In this case, the authors propose that larger-scale genomic research into factors that affect susceptibility to serious complications from common viral infections is appropriate.