Meth is Nothing to Sneeze At: A Possible Anti-Influenza Agent

Drugs almost always have more than one effect on the body. Witness this new study:

Methamphetamine Reduces Human Influenza A Virus Replication,” Yun-Hsiang Chen, Kuang-Lun Wu, Chia-Hsiang Chen [pictured here], PLoS ONE 7(11): e48335. (Thanks to investigator Ron Josephson for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at the National Health Research Institutes in Zhunan, Taiwan, and Chang Gung University School of Medicine in Taoyuan, Taiwan, report:

Methamphetamine (meth) is a highly addictive psychostimulant that is among the most widely abused illicit drugs, with an estimated over 35 million users in the world…. However, little is known about whether meth has the ability to enhance influenza A virus replication, thus increasing severity of influenza illness in meth abusers…. We report the first evidence that meth significantly reduces, rather than increases, virus propagation and the susceptibility to influenza infection in the human lung epithelial cell line… these findings prompt the study to examine whether other structurally similar compounds could be used as anti-influenza agents.”