Bird flu and human flu are differentiated

Aug 22, 2007

A U.S. study has found specific key differences between bird flu and human flu that might be used to monitor emerging pandemics.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital investigators found mutations linked with immune suppression and viral replications differ between bird and human flu viruses and might distinguish influenza viruses found in birds from those that infect humans.

The St. Jude team used a mathematical technique to identify specific amino acid building blocks that are statistically more likely to appear in avian influenza virus proteins and those that are more likely to be in human influenza virus proteins. The differences, they said, can be used as markers to track changes in H5N1 avian influenza strains that threaten humans.

"Influenza mutates rapidly, so that any marker that is not the same in bird flu, but remains stable in human flu, is likely to be important," said David Finkelstein of the St. Jude Hartwell Center for Bioinformatics and Biotechnology. "If human specific markers start accumulating in bird flu viruses that infect humans, that suggests the bird flu may be adapting to humans and could spread."

The study appears in the advanced online edition of the Journal of Virology.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: China to open first high security bio laboratory

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New species discoveries in the Greater Mekong

Jun 05, 2014

A giant flying squirrel, a skydiving gecko, a fish that mates head-to-head, and an eyeless cave-dwelling spider are among the 367 new species revealed by scientists in the Greater Mekong region in 2012-2013, ...

The five biggest threats to human existence

May 29, 2014

In the daily hubbub of current "crises" facing humanity, we forget about the many generations we hope are yet to come. Not those who will live 200 years from now, but 1,000 or 10,000 years from now. I use ...

Recommended for you

China to open first high security bio laboratory

5 minutes ago

China's first high-security biosafety laboratory will be ready for use by December, in a move hailed as a "crucial" moment in the fight against pathogens such as the Ebola virus, officials said Tuesday.

US Ebola labs, parts for clinic arrive in Liberia

1 hour ago

U.S. mobile Ebola labs should be up and running in Liberia this week, and American troops have broken ground for a field hospital, as the international community races to increase the ability to care for ...

Ebola-hit Liberia staring into the abyss

5 hours ago

With its collapsed health service, sick and poorly equipped security forces and broken economy, Ebola-hit Liberia finds itself on the brink of complete societal breakdown, experts warn.

Dallas hospital monitoring patient for Ebola

5 hours ago

A patient in a Dallas hospital is showing signs of the Ebola virus and is being kept in strict isolation with test results pending, hospital officials said Monday.

'Deadly diarrhea' rates nearly doubled in 10 years

15 hours ago

Infections with the intestinal superbug C. difficile nearly doubled from 2001 to 2010 in U.S. hospitals without noticeable improvement in patient mortality rates or hospital lengths of stay, according to a study of 2.2 mi ...

User comments : 0