Influenza

Immigrant boy who died in U.S. custody had influenza

Central American migrants at the U.S. border. Photo: Guillermo Arias/AFP/Getty Images

The 8-year-old Guatemalan boy who died on Christmas Eve while in U.S. custody tested positive for influenza B, the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator said, per USA Today.

Details: Felipe Gómez Alonzo and his father had been detained for a few days when a border agent "noticed Felipe was coughing and had 'glossy eyes,'" USA Today reports. He was then sent to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a cold and fever, and observed for 90 minutes by U.S. Customs and Border Protection before being released on Monday afternoon. Hours later, he returned to the hospital for nausea and vomiting, and later died. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen plans to travel to El Paso, Texas, on Friday to observe CBP's medical screen process.

Go deeper: U.S. Customs orders medical checks after second immigrant child dies

Novel antibody study could lead to near-universal flu protection

Illustration of a giant needle holding multiple needles inside, showing vaccination against multiple types of flu
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

A team of scientists took a novel approach to the problem of protecting people against both A and B types of flu viruses. They used llama antibodies to create a nasal spray that would block the viruses before they can take hold in the body, according to a preclinical mouse study published in Science Thursday.

Why it matters: This approach could bring us closer to developing a universal flu vaccine before the next influenza pandemic hits — which, if we're not prepared, would likely kill tens of millions globally. While this study is not on a vaccine per se, it aims to provide similar "near universal" protection against multiple influenza viruses.

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