Scientists Discover How Flu Develops

A new study revealed that flu virus breeds in the roof of your mouth and spreads through sneezes and coughs.

According to the study published at the journal Nature, the soft palate, which is a tissue separating the nasal cavity and the back of the mouth, is the key area where the flu virus develops. It was the first time for scientists to focus on the soft palate in influenza researches.


“Historically, the soft palate has not been examined in animal models of influenza,” said Dr Kanta Subbarao of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

In their study, the scientists engineered mutations of the flu strain responsible for the 2009 influenza pandemic. The virus was then used to infect a group of ferrets. These animals had been widely used as a model of human influenza infection because of their similar mouth structures to humans.

Their findings showed that a patch of mucous-coated soft tissue is the key spot for the emergence of flu virus. The inflammation linked with the infection stimulates the coughing and sneezing which are needed to propel the virus out of the mouth.

Dr. Subbarao added that more studies must be conducted to further identify the characteristics that make it a key spot for a virus to develop and be transmitted.

The Symptoms of Flu

Before it gets worse, know the warning signs of flu. Here are some of its common symptoms, according to WebMD.

  • fever
  • headache
  • dry cough
  • severe aches in muscles and joints
  • weakness or extreme fatigue
  • sore throat and runny nose
  • pain and tiredness in the eyes
  • children may experience diarrhea

Your infection may be severe if you experience the following symptoms.

  • severe vomiting
  • sudden dizziness
  • shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • pain or pressure in the chest or belly
  • confusion