About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Pandemics Could be Prevented by Insights into How a Bird Flu Virus Spreads

by Kathy Jones on April 13, 2014 at 9:33 PM
Font : A-A+

 Pandemics Could be Prevented by Insights into How a Bird Flu Virus Spreads

Despite the fact that the virus cannot spread easily between people, the H5N1 bird flu virus has infected and killed hundreds of people.

The death toll could become much worse if the virus became airborne. A study published by Cell Press April 10th in the journal Cell has revealed a minimal set of mutations allowing H5N1 to be transmitted through the air from one ferret to another. The findings will be invaluable for future surveillance programs and may provide early warning signals of the emergence of potential pandemic strains.

Advertisement

"By gaining fundamental knowledge about how the influenza virus adapts to mammals and becomes airborne, we may ultimately be able to identify viruses that pose a public health risk among the large number of influenza viruses that are circulating in animals," says senior study author Ron Fouchier of Erasmus Medical Center. "If we can do this, we might be able to prevent some pandemics in the future."

The H5N1 virus has caused serious outbreaks in domestic poultry in Asia and the Middle East and has infected people in 15 countries. The virus must be transmissible through air for a pandemic to occur, and Fouchier and his colleagues previously identified several H5N1 mutations linked to airborne transmission through aerosol or respiratory droplets. But, until now, the minimal set of mutations required for airborne transmission was not clear, hindering the ability of scientists to predict and prepare for pandemics.
Advertisement

In the new study, the researchers identified five mutations that are sufficient for airborne transmission of H5N1 between ferrets—one of the best models of influenza transmissibility available today. Two mutations improved the binding of the virus to cells in the upper respiratory tract of mammals; two other mutations enabled the virus to replicate more efficiently; and the remaining mutation increased the stability of the virus.

"This type of analysis provides a more complete picture of the changes that may constitute increased risk of H5N1 transmissibility," says Peter Palese of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who coauthored an Essay accompanying the research paper. "Assessment of how adaptations in ferrets affect viral fitness, virulence, and transmission is sorely needed in order to gain a truly holistic perspective of the likelihood that these viruses might cause a pandemic and what characteristics such a pandemic might exhibit."



Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Turmeric: Magic Ingredient to Keep you Healthy in Winter
Top 7 Benefits of Good Oral Hygiene
Healthy and Safer Thanksgiving 2021
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Chicken Pox Bird Flu Shigellosis Swine Flu 

Recommended Reading
Bird Flu
Bird flu (avian influenza/avian flu) is a disease caused by an influenza virus (H5N1) that ......
Swine Flu
Swine flu, a type of influenza caused by a new strain of the H1N1 Type A influenza virus has ......
Gastroenteritis
Gastroenteritis or Stomach Flu or Gastric flu is highly contagious and infectious inflammation of .....
Chicken Pox
Chicken pox is an acute and highly contagious viral infection caused by the varicella zoster virus....
Shigellosis
Shigellosis or Bacillary Dysentery is a common cause of gastro-enteritis worldwide and can cause blo...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use