Why do healthy children die from the flu? Study offers new insights -- ScienceDailyThe study examined specific immune pathways known to be activated during flu infections in both humans and mice, which makes the findings relevant to children. Coates and colleagues focused on the initial immune response to the flu, using healthy adult and young mice who have not had previous exposures to the virus. They discovered that in the young, more immune cells called monocytes were recruited to the lungs, and that the gene expression profiles of these cells had more inflammatory features, causing greater inflammation and more severe lung injury. "Our findings provide new targets for developing effective medicines to treat the flu in children," says Coates. "We can seek ways to prevent monocytes from coming to the lungs, or we can target monocyte behavior in the lungs to reduce dangerous inflammation."