The first stage with regard to a massive study concerning the bird flu virus genomes is reported to have been completed at the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. This has served to increase the information available regarding the proteins and genes of these viruses by about 100%.
The H5N1 virus is giving rise to fears of a large scale pandemic across the world. The mutation of the virus can have devastating effects on the human race. The Infectious Diseases department's Robert G. Webster has revealed that the research has also served the purpose of providing an insight into its evolution, and unlocking its secrets. Understanding the virus will also contribute towards overcoming it ultimately.
One of the most important discoveries made was that this particular virus has a molecular feature which is absent in human influenza viruses, which makes them all the more toxic while infecting human cells. The scientific community has also been provided with more data to combat this deadly virus as a result of this study. The ALSAC provided the funds for this study, with contributions from the Hartwell Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health.