Scientists map flu virus evolution

2011-05-26 09:26

kalahari.com

Paris - Scientists in Hong Kong and Singapore said on Wednesday they had established the widest-ever picture of how the flu virus circulates in pigs, a work that should aid efforts to combat a future influenza pandemic.

Driven by cross-border trade, the range of porcine flu viruses turns out to be larger than thought, they reported in the science journal Nature.

The findings are important because pigs play a key role in the emergence of influenza pandemics in humans.

They are a major viral source in themselves but also can act as a kettle, breeding new flu strains from swine viruses and viruses from poultry and humans in close proximity.

Sometimes - mercifully rarely - a novel virus can be a killer. Tens of millions of people died in flu pandemics in 1918, 1957 and 1968.

Diversity

A pandemic that occurred in 2009 had about the same lethality as ordinary "seasonal" flu. It is commonly but erroneously called swine flu, for it is a combination of bird and human as well as pig viruses.

Vijaykrishna Dhanasekaran, a specialist in virus evolution at the Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School in Singapore, said the study showed clearly that viral diversity among pigs had grown.

"The repertoire of viruses that humans are in contact with every day has increased, and this may lead to a higher likelihood of swine-to-human transmission, although the risk remains unquantified," he said.

The research looked at the epidemiology, genetics and immune response to 650 viruses taken from slaughtered pigs in Hong Kong between 1998 and 2010.

These were compared with data on porcine flu viruses found in Europe, North America and elsewhere in Asia stretching back 34 years.

The picture shows the genetic ebb and flow of three major lineages of virus - classical, Eurasian avian-like and triple reassortant - and shows how specific sub-types surfaced in Hong Kong pigs, including combinations of all three groups.

Understanding these evolutionary dynamics should help pinpoint which flu viruses among pigs are best able to adapt to a human host, the authors hope.
- SAPA
Read more on:    health  |  research
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Camping gear!

We’ve got all your camping must have’s right here at mind blowing low prices. Check them out now!

Herbex – buy 3 & get 1 free!

Fat burn packs, appetite control chewies, stretch mark cream and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

30% off Jinger Jack handbags

Spice up your wardrobe and save 30% on stylish Jinger Jack handbags. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Buy 3 books & pay for 2

The cheapest of the 3 books will be free. Offer valid while stocks last. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

Deal of the week!

Hisense 40” Full HD LED Television now R3999. Offer valid while stocks last. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Today is a good day to network and share your ideas and thoughts with your colleagues and friends. Information overload is...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.