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Of swine, birds and men -- pandemic H1N1 flu
Date:2/1/2010

Hong Kong SAR, China Current research suggests that pandemic H1N1 influenza of swine origin has distinct means of transmission from the seasonal flu, yet does not result in the pathogenic severity of avian flu viruses. The related report by Chan et al, "Tropism and Innate Host Responses of the 2009 Pandemic H1N1 Influenza Virus in ex Vivo and in Vitro Cultures of Human Conjunctiva and Respiratory Tract," appears published online ahead of print in the April 2010 issue of The American Journal of Pathology.

Pandemic H1N1 influenza of swine origin is a novel influenza strain that causes a generally mild respiratory illness, but results in severe disease or death in vulnerable individuals. The World Health Organization reports that "as of 17 January 2010, worldwide more than 209 countries and overseas territories or communities have reported laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009, including at least 14142 deaths." High risk groups include the very young and old, people with compromised immune systems, and pregnant women.

Unlike seasonal flu, which only infects cells located in the nose and the throat, pandemic H1N1 can replicate efficiently in cells deeper in the lung, similar to the more pathogenic H5N1 'bird flu'. Researchers led by Drs. Michael C.W. Chan and Joseph S.Malik Peiris at Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong SAR, China compared the cell infection pattern and immune responses of pandemic H1N1 to seasonal flu as well as to highly pathogenic avian influenza strains. They found that in contrast to seasonal flu, pandemic H1N1 and highly pathogenic avian flu could infect the conjunctiva, a membrane that lines the eyelids and covers the white part of the eye, suggesting an additional route of transmission as well as differences in receptor binding profile. However, pandemic H1N1 did not differ from seasonal flu either in replication in nose, throat, and lung cells or in induction of an inflammatory immune response
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Contact: Angela Colmone, Ph.D.
acolmone@asip.org
301-634-7953
American Journal of Pathology
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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