11/08/2012 03:15 pm ET Updated Nov 09, 2012

Meth Helps Fight The Flu, Study Suggests


And they said meth never did a body good.

A study conducted by researchers in Taiwan found that methamphetamine may possess flu-fighting properties, Medical Daily reported.

The study, published Tuesday in PLoS One, exposed human lung cells to varying quantities meth, then infected them with Influenza A (H1N1) viruses, a common subtype of human influenza.

After only 24 hours after infection, the control group of cells, which had not been treated with meth, contained the same concentrations of the virus as did the meth-treated cells.

However, 30 hours after infection, the meth-treated cells possessed significantly lower concentrations of the virus than the control group did. After 48 hours, the difference was even more pronounced.

Researchers also determined that meth's apparent anti-viral effect most likely occurs during the viral replication that takes place after infection, according to the study.

Don't go becoming a real-life Walter White just yet, however. Meth's negative effects -- including brain damage, psychosis, heart disease and severe weight loss - far outweigh whatever anti-flu properties it may have.

However, scientists hope to now search for safer, structurally similar compounds that could be used to fight the flu.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated that lung cells were exposed to H1N1. This information was incomplete; the cells were exposed to Influenza A (H1N1).



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