Hightlight: Influenza virus gaining power in pigs?

Jun 17, 2010

The June 18 issue of Science reports that by monitoring the swine at a Hong Kong slaughterhouse, researchers have found that the pandemic H1N1 influenza virus from 2009 has been reorganizing its genes in pigs for the past year and a half.

This discovery concerns the researchers because further genetic "reassortment" could eventually give rise to another that is harmful to humans.

For this reason, Dhanasekaran Vijaykrishna and colleagues argue that global surveillance of swine should be heightened.

In a Brevium, these researchers describe how they identified a novel genetic reassortment of the H1N1 virus in January of this year and analyzed it to confirm that it arose from the H1N1/2009 virus.

They suggest that the introduction of the H1N1/2009 virus back into swine allowed it to reorganize its genes, and they warn that this 2010 virus could undergo further reassortment in swine and become dangerous to humans.

Vijaykrishna and colleagues call for a complete characterization of the eight H1 influenza genes identified in the new strain so that future reassortment events can be quickly recognized and identified.

Explore further: 12 states now reporting severe respiratory illness that targets kids

More information: "Reassortment of Pandemic H1N1/2009 Influenza A Virus in Swine," by D. Vijaykrishna; L.L.M. Poon; H.C. Zhu; S.K. Ma; O.T.W. Li; C.L. Cheung; G.J.D. Smith; J.S. M. Peiris; Y. Guan at University of Hong Kong in Hong Kong, China; D. Vijaykrishna; H.C. Zhu; G.J.D. Smith; Y. Guan at Shantou University Medical College in Shantou, China; D. Vijaykrishna at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore, Singapore.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Probing Question: Can a pandemic be predicted?

Jun 04, 2009

SARS. Ebola. West Nile. Avian flu. Over the past decade, the world has watched and waited to see if these viruses would develop into global health threats. In recent weeks, the World Health Organization (WHO) sent a shockwave ...

Virus hybridization could create pandemic bird flu

Feb 22, 2010

Genetic interactions between avian H5N1 influenza and human seasonal influenza viruses have the potential to create hybrid strains combining the virulence of bird flu with the pandemic ability of H1N1, according to a new ...

Recommended for you

France to receive first Ebola patient

4 hours ago

France on Wednesday prepared to receive its first Ebola patient, as the World Bank warned the spiralling epidemic is threatening economic catastrophe in west Africa.

US scientist: Ebola unlikely to become airborne

6 hours ago

It is unlikely that Ebola would mutate to spread through the air, and the best way to make sure it doesn't is to stop the epidemic, a top U.S. government scientist told concerned lawmakers Wednesday.

User comments : 0