Methamphetamine is the second most commonly used drug in the world with 35 million users world wide. In the US alone there are over a million users. Long term use of meth causes a laundry list of negative effects. Psychosis, paranoia, insomnia, violent behaviour, weight loss, and “meth mouth” are just a few. The drug also transforms the physical appearance of the user.
Scientists in Taiwan set out to see if meth increases or decreases influenza A virus replication, the results were surprising. They exposed human lung cells to methamphetamine at varying levels, then infected them with the flu (human influenza A/WSN/33 (H1N1)) virus. To their surprise they found out that lung cells exposed to the most meth had the weakest concentration of the flu virus.
The study claims that it “provides the first demonstration that meth inhibits influenza A virus replication in vitro, primarily via acting at the viral replication stage.” Obviously meth is not a recommended treatment for the flu, but this gives another research path in the fight against influenza.
The study concludes: “Given meth’s action on attenuating influenza infections, further studies to screen other structurally similar compounds for use as an antiviral agent(s) against influenza virus infections should be pursued.”