Influenza virus causes an acute febrile respiratory disease in humans that is commonly known as ‘flu’. Influenza virus has been around for centuries and is one of the most successful, and consequently most studied human viruses. This has generated tremendous amount of data and information, thus it is pertinent to summarise these for, particularly interdisciplinary readers. Viruses are acellular organisms and exist at the interface of living and non-living. Due to this unique characteristic, viruses require another organism, i.e. host to survive. Viruses multiply inside the host cell and are obligate intracellular pathogens, because their relationship with the host is almost always harmful to host. In mammalian cells, the life cycle of a virus, including influenza is divided into five main steps: attachment, entry, synthesis, assembly and release. To complete these steps, some viruses, e.g. influenza utilise all three parts — plasma membrane, cytoplasm and nucleus, of the cell; whereas others, e.g. SARS-CoV-2 utilise only plasma membrane and cytoplasm. Hence, viruses interact with numerous host factors to complete their life cycle, and these interactions are either exploitative or antagonistic in nature. The host factors involved in the life cycle of a virus could be divided in two broad categories — proviral and antiviral. This perspective has endeavoured to assimilate the information about the host factors which promote and suppress influenza virus infection. Furthermore, an insight into host factors that play a dual role during infection or contribute to influenza virus-host adaptation and disease severity has also been provided.

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