"C4d is part of the inflammatory cascade, and while it's really good at killing organisms and protecting us, it's sort of the slash and burn approach, capable of causing lots of tissue damage," Johnson said.
But why did infants and the frail elderly escape this mechanism of death in the H1N1 pandemic?
"We found in 2009, the elderly had good immunity because they had seen a very similar virus sometime before 1957. Babies hadn't seen many viruses at all so there was no trigger. It came down to the young adults – primed with an ineffective response. Their bodies already had defenses against previous influenza viruses that look like this one but weren't close enough," Polack said.
Professor Polack also notes the effectiveness of the H1N1 vaccine in preventing deaths.
An overactive immune system also has a role to play in macular degeneration (as observed in rats).
“Our results suggest that the response works as a vicious cycle, with white blood cells the major culprit,” Matt [Rutar, PhD student] says. “Upon inflammation or damage to the eyes, the immune system kicks in and white blood cells, particularly macrophages, are recruited to clean up the debris or dead cells.”
“Under healthy conditions, the white blood cells finish their task and leave the macula. However, in cases of MD, the macrophages call in other inflammatory proteins and combine with them. This then triggers a fresh cycle in which they attack healthy vision cells.”
Matt Rutar also suggests some preventative measures people can take: wearing sunglasses, limiting exposure to bright light, eating a healthy diet, exercising, and avoiding smoking. EoR is shocked to see these. Surely he knows that he should only be recommending expensive and death-dealing drugs? Perhaps he hasn't yet signed his secret pact with