Friday, October 05, 2007

Bird Flu 'One Mutation Away' From Becoming Ultra-Infectious To Humans

American researchers claim that the H5N1 is mutating into a far more dangerous, far more deadly virus. A crucial step in recombination remains before the bird flu virus can spread more easily amongst human populations.

From HealthDayNews :

...researchers led by University of Wisconsin-Madison virologist Yoshihiro Kawaoka have pinpointed a single change in a viral protein that helps H5N1 infect the cells of the upper respiratory system in mammals. The adaptation could enable the virus to infect a wider range of cell types and spread more easily among humans, the scientists said.

Being able to establish itself in the upper respiratory system enables easy transmission of the virus through coughing and sneezing, Kawaoka noted. However, other yet-to-be identified changes would have to occur before the H5N1 virus could potentially trigger a flu pandemic.

"The viruses that are in circulation now are much more mammalian-like than the ones circulating in 1997," Kawoka said in a prepared statement. "The viruses that are circulating in Africa and Europe are the ones closest to becoming a human virus."


Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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