H1N1 virus unlikely to mutate into ’superbug’

September 2nd, 2009 - 1:11 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Sept 2 (ANI): The H1N1 virus, responsible for spreading swine flu, is unlikely to mix with other flu strains to form a more virulent ’superbug’, say researchers.

In the study, researchers from University of Maryland exposed ferrets to three different viruses and no evidence that the H1N1 combines with other flu strains to form a superbug, but overtook it.

“The H1N1 pandemic virus has a clear biological advantage over the two main seasonal flu strains and all the makings of a virus fully adapted to humans,” said virologist Daniel Perez, the lead researcher and program director of the University of Maryland-based Prevention and Control of Avian Influenza Coordinated Agricultural Project.

“I’m not surprised to find that the pandemic virus is more infectious, simply because it’s new, so hosts haven’t had a chance to build immunity yet.

“Meanwhile, the older strains encounter resistance from hosts’ immunity to them,” Perez added.

The study showed that some of the animals who were infected with both the new virus and one of the more familiar seasonal viruses (H3N2) developed not only respiratory symptoms, but intestinal illness as well.

Perez and his team have called for additional research to see whether this kind of co-infection and multiple symptoms may account for some of the deaths attributed to the new virus.

“The findings of this study are preliminary, but the far greater communicability of the pandemic virus serves as a clearly blinking warning light,” said Perez.

The study appears online in PLOS Currents. (ANI)

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