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

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’