From The December 2001 Issue of Nutrition Science News
by Jack Challem
Because flu virus mutations create new virus strains each year, it becomes virtually impossible for the body's immune system to develop a permanent defense. However, taking adequate amounts of selenium can prevent those mutations from occurring. Melinda A. Beck, Ph.D., a virologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and her colleagues exposed two groups of laboratory mice to a relatively mild flu virus strain called influenza A Bangkok, which also infects people. Flu viruses infecting selenium-deficient mice developed 29 mutations, which led to greater virulence. In contrast, selenium-replete mice experienced no mutations in the infecting virus and had milder symptoms. 
Jack Challem, known as the The Nutrition Reporter, has been writing about vitamin research for 25 years and is the author of Syndrome X: The Complete Nutritional Program to Prevent and Reverse Insulin Resistance (Wiley, 2000).
1. Nelson HK, et al.
Host Nutritional Selenium Status as a Driving Force for Influenza Virus Mutations
FASEB J 2001 (Aug); 15 (10): 1481-1483