Stamp out the avian influenza virus quickly

While avian influenza virus crossing the species barrier and directly infecting humans happens only occasionally, human-to-human spread has been rare and not sustained. But mutations in the virus or genetic reassortment could likely result in sustained transmission between humans thus increasing the risk of a pandemic influenza.


Editorial: New bird flu strains

If the bird flu strain H7N9 emerged in China in March this year, causing infections in about 134 people and killing 43, another novel bird flu strain, H6N1, emerged this May in Taiwan. Unlike the H7N9 strain, the latest one has infected just one person, a 20-year-old woman who presented with typical influenza-like symptoms. What … Continue reading Editorial: New bird flu strains

New way to develop influenza A vaccine

Precious time lost in developing an effective vaccine against influenza A viruses that jump from animals to humans and spread across the world causing a pandemic is quite close to becoming history. According to a study published today (May 30) in the Science Translational Medicine journal, an effective vaccine would be available for use against … Continue reading New way to develop influenza A vaccine

Editorial: Silent spread of H7N9

With the continued spread of influenza A(H7N9) virus to 127 people in China and a concomitant increase in the number of deaths (26), the outbreak has confirmed what the World Health Organisation had earlier noted — H7N9 is “definitely one of the most lethal influenza viruses we have seen so far.” Nineteen people infected with … Continue reading Editorial: Silent spread of H7N9

H7N9 silently spreads in humans and birds

The novel H7N9 avian flu virus that is currently circulating in certain regions in China has bewildered public health officials within and outside the country. To start with, H7N9 is a product of reassortment of three avian influenza virus strains that “infect only birds.” Reassortment happens when gene swapping takes place between two or more … Continue reading H7N9 silently spreads in humans and birds

Editorial: The next contagion

The influenza A(H7N9) virus, a novel bird flu strain that emerged in China, has infected nine people and already killed three. Unlike the H5N1 virus that is widely endemic in poultry in Asia, this strain is unique in several ways. The most important among them is that it has turned out to be lethal; the … Continue reading Editorial: The next contagion