Influenza is an RNA virus which may exist as any shape from round balls to long, spaghetti-like filaments. The genome of this virus is associated with five different viral proteins and is surrounded by a lipid membrane, which means that influenza belongs to the "enveloped" group of viruses. Eight separate pieces of ribonucleic acid (RNA) make up the influenza virus genome and each piece of RNA specifies the amino acid sequence of one and sometimes two of the virus's proteins. The segmented nature of the RNA allows different flu viruses to easily "mate" with each other to form hybrid progeny viruses with bits of RNA from each parent virus.The immune response to influenza A virus infection involves both B and T lymphocytes. The innate immune system triggers the body's "emergency response" to invaders such as infections. This rapid attack gives the body's adaptive immune system time to generate antibodies that specifically target the virus or bacterium. Flu vaccines train this adaptive immune system to attack specific viral strains.
- Immune responses and inflammatory conditions
- Immunity to Influenza virus