Navigation Links
Once-Banned Bird Flu Study Yields Sobering Findings
Date:6/21/2012

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, June 21 (HealthDay News) -- As few as five mutations are enough to make the H5N1 avian influenza virus transmissible via airborne droplets between ferrets, according to a new, highly anticipated report.

Because the flu virus affects ferrets and humans in a similar way, the new findings, appearing in the June 22 issue of the journal Science, may shed light on how likely it is that an avian or "bird flu" virus will become pandemic and spread rapidly between humans.

If a new virus emerged, humans could essentially be defenseless against it.

The paper is the second of two whose publication was banned by the U.S. government, which feared that publishing specifics on a sequence of the H5N1 bird flu might prompt bioterrorists to develop and unleash a pandemic.

In April, however, the controversial ban was lifted and the first paper was published in the journal Nature.

Bruce Alberts, the editor-in-chief of Science, speaking at a press conference Wednesday, said he hoped publication of this and a companion paper "will help to make the world safer by stimulating more scientists and policy makers to focus on preparing defenses [against a pandemic]."

Asked whether the report might increase the chances that a rogue scientist would be able to replicate the work, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he thought "the benefit of the paper in stimulating thoughts and in stimulating ways to better understand [the virus] far outweighs any nefarious use of the information."

In order to understand how avian flu viruses could become airborne in mammals, the authors of the first Science study first introduced three mutations thought to increase the ability of the virus to spread between mammals into an existing strain of the H5N1 virus.

The virus was then put in the nose of ferrets. Researchers then swabbed the virus from the ferret's noses and introduced it into another set of ferrets, and then another -- tracking all the time how the virus evolved.

After 10 of these "passages," the virus had acquired the ability to transmit via aerosol or respiratory droplets.

In total, five mutations gave the virus the ability to spread through the air. This included the three initially introduced by the researchers, plus two more that evolved on their own while the virus was passing from ferret to ferret.

The airborne virus did not, however, kill the ferrets, said study co-author Ron Fouchier, of the department of virology at Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands.

And the antiviral drug Tamiflu (oseltamivir) was effective against the new strain of virus in the ferrets.

A second paper in the same issue of Science found that two of the mutations needed to make the virus spread between mammals already are seen frequently in combination with each other in nature, meaning as few as three additional mutations might be all that is needed to result in a virus similar to the one constructed in the first paper.

Researchers don't know at this point how likely it would be for all these mutations to occur in a single host, said co-author Derek Smith, professor of infectious disease informatics at the University of Cambridge in England.

Taken together, the Nature and the new Science papers showed different ways viruses can change to potentially infect humans.

The earlier paper showed that mutations plus reassortment (when genetic information from more than one species is mixed) produced transmissibility, and, indeed, this fit with long-held theories that such reassortment would be necessary for a pandemic to occur.

But the current paper showed that mutations alone were sufficient.

"We can get a transmissible virus by mutation only and by a combination of mutation and reassortment," Fauci said.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on bird flu.

SOURCES: June 20, 2012, press conference with: Bruce Alberts, Ph.D., editor-in-chief, Science; Ron Fouchier, Ph.D., department of virology, Erasmus Medical Center, the Netherlands; Derek Smith, Ph.D., professor of infectious disease informatics, University of Cambridge, England; Anthony Fauci, M.D., director, U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; June 22, 2012, Science


'/>"/>
Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Once-Banned Bird Flu Study Suggests Pandemic Threat Is Real
2. Preventing or better managing diabetes may prevent cognitive decline, according to UCSF study
3. Childs Scoliosis Stresses Patients, Parents: Study
4. Study Ties Kids Allergy Risks to Antibacterials, Preservatives
5. Eating Disorders Hitting Women Over 50, Study Finds
6. Study examines use of a natural language processing tool for electronic health records in assessing colonoscopy quality
7. PTSD Symptoms Common After Heart Attack: Study
8. Cancer Survivors Call in Sick to Work More Often, Study Finds
9. Study shows stagnating life expectancies in US
10. Study suggests poor mothers favor daughters
11. Surgical sling reduces risk of weakened bladder control after prolapse surgery, U-M study says
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Once-Banned Bird Flu Study Yields Sobering Findings
(Date:1/23/2017)... ... 23, 2017 , ... DMG Productions is proud to announce ... scheduled to broadcast Saturday, January 28, 2017 at 5:00pmEST. , This segment will ... address the limitations of fatigue monitoring technologies within the mining industry. Today SmartCap ...
(Date:1/23/2017)... ... January 23, 2017 , ... ... organization in North America for the scientific development, healthcare training and clinical application ... Session, and its 2017 AAT Member Certification Qualification Courses for Technicians, respectively. , ...
(Date:1/23/2017)... ... January 23, 2017 , ... "ProRandom is a set of camera tools that allow video editors ... Final Cut Pro X," said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ... text with video footage. ProRandom works by using a virtual camera to create the ...
(Date:1/23/2017)... ... January 23, 2017 , ... “Crossing the Bar”: a moving and eloquent ... life. “Crossing the Bar” is the creation of published author, Charlotte Hotte, a North ... who credits the inspiration of the book to her sister, Denise, wishes to acknowledge ...
(Date:1/22/2017)... ... , ... Phytocéane invites clients to take an exotic journey deep into the ... MILKY CREAM. Inspired by the beauty of Zanzibar, a Tanzanian archipelago off the coast ... coral to create this gentle, velvety body cream to envelop the skin in moisture ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:1/23/2017)... InDex Pharmaceuticals Holding AB (publ) today announced ... of the European Crohn,s and Colitis Organisation (ECCO). The ECCO congress ... on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The congress is held in ... ... again having been selected to present data at the largest IBD ...
(Date:1/21/2017)... , Jan. 20, 2017 ResMed (NYSE: ... Medical ( Winter Haven, Florida ) today announced they ... parties. BMC and 3B will be permitted to sell their existing ... make a one-time settlement payment to 3B to close the ... did not include an admission of liability or wrongdoing by any ...
(Date:1/21/2017)... 20, 2017 Research and Markets has announced ... Trends - Technology, Route Of Administration, End User - Forecast to ... ... to grow at a CAGR of around 7.8% over the next ... This industry report analyzes the global markets for Advanced Drug Delivery ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: