WVII interviews Kim about flu virus research

WVII (Channel 7) interviewed Carol Kim, a professor of microbiology at the University of Maine, about her research on the immune response to the influenza virus using zebrafish. A team of UMaine researchers received a grant for more than $400,000 from the National Institutes of Health for the research. The team’s goal is to develop therapies to help people improve the immune system response and clear the influenza infection, the report states. This past flu season was the worst in Maine in five years. Since the strain changes every year, people must receive a new vaccination annually. “So this past year the vaccine was not that protective. It only protected about a 30 percent rate rather than an 80 or 90 percent rate as it usually does in every year,” said Kim. The research aims to develop treatments outside of vaccines. “The zebrafish are a great animal model for a human disease. We can actually take the virus that infects humans and we can infect the zebrafish,” Kim told WVII. “The grant is for three years and so hopefully in that time frame we’ll have a better idea of the immune response to influenza infection.”