Science news on The Hindu website has high readership

Between January 2017 and January 2019, the Science section (excluding health, environment and technology) on The Hindu website got on average 5 lakh readers per month. And even on certain days when important news were breaking out, science articles were highly read and ranked among the top ten most read articles. On Sunday May 19, … Continue reading Science news on The Hindu website has high readership

Mutations make H1N1 virulent, spread easily

The 2014 Indian H1N1 strain has undergone “important haemagglutinin (HA) mutations” that make it more easily transmissible and virulent in humans, notes a study published on March 11 in the journal Cell Host and Microbe. The result contradicts the claim made by the Pune-based National Institute of Virology (NIV) that the H1N1 Influenza A strain … Continue reading Mutations make H1N1 virulent, spread easily

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

Bird flu viruses have potential to cause a ‘human pandemic’

Published in The Hindu on May 3, 2012 At last, the controversial paper by Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin-Madison on mammalian transmissibility of H5N1 (bird flu) virus through genetic manipulation is published today (May 3) in Nature. The study looks at droplet transmission of the virus in a ferret animal model. Ferrets are … Continue reading Bird flu viruses have potential to cause a ‘human pandemic’

‘Lab-created H5N1 viruses removed natural barriers’

Published in The Hindu on February 2, 2012 In two articles published today (February 2) in Nature, members of the United States National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) have for the first time gone on record explaining the reasons behind their decision to “recommend” both Science and Nature to publish only the redacted (censored) … Continue reading ‘Lab-created H5N1 viruses removed natural barriers’

Censorship won’t stop bird flu contagion

Published in The Hindu on January 27, 2015 The United States National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) decision to “recommend” that Science and Nature journals publish only redacted versions of bird flu research results is nothing but an exaggerated and over-zealous reaction that is bound to fail in its prime objective. Most of the … Continue reading Censorship won’t stop bird flu contagion