According to a study developed by the Wellcome Trust, shift-pattern workers may be more prone to contracting infections and chronic diseases due to body clock disruptions.
Researchers found that employees are more receptive to catching illnesses at certain periods of a typical day, and that the body clocks greatly affects the ability of viruses replicating and spreading between cells.
The study, which used rats as subjects to determine the final conclusions, demonstrated how virus replication in mice that were infected with herpes at the beginning of the day (the animals resting phase) was 10 times higher than in mice that were infected 10 hours into their day.
Senior author of the study, Professor Akhilesh Reddy, said: “The time of day of infection can have a major influence on how susceptible we are to the disease, or at least on the viral replication, meaning that infection at the wrong time of day could cause a much more severe acute infection. This is consistent with recent studies, which have shown that the time of day that the influenza vaccine is administered can influence how effectively it works.”
Find out more about the Wellcome Trust here