A study by two researchers from MIT says the virus has undergone mutation and needs further research
GN Bureau | March 12, 2015
Contradicting the claim by health authorities on swine flu virus, two researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have reported that the current strain of the disease’s parent H1N1 virus has mutated to become more virulent.
The swine flu outbreak in India has taken lives of more than 1,400 people since December and it seems the disease is more dangerous than previously thought.
Ram Sasisekharan and Kannan Tharakaraman of MIT, compared the two influenza strains currently affecting the Indian population with the 2009 strain of H1N1 using their respective genetic sequences. They found mutations in the Indian strains in a protein called hemagglutinin, which binds with receptors on the human body’s respiratory cells. One of the mutations is linked to increased severity of the disease, while another enhances its infectiousness.
“The point we’re trying to make is that there is a real need for aggressive surveillance to ensure that the anxiety and hysteria are brought down and people are able to focus on what they really need to worry about,” said Sasisekharan.
Sasisekharan is the Alfred H. Caspary Professor of Biological Engineering and the study has been published in the current issue of Cell Host and Microbe. Tharakaraman is a research scientist in the same department.
Sasisekharan pointed out that more surveillance is needed to determine whether these mutations are present in the strain that is causing the current outbreak, which is most prevalent in the Indian states of Gujarat and Rajasthan and has infected more than 20,000 people so far.
"The goal is to get a clearer picture of the strains that are circulating and therefore anticipate the right kind of a vaccine strategy for 2016," Sasisekharan said.
Naval submarine INS Kalvari was dedicated to the nation by prime minister Narendra Modi on Thursday in Mumbai. INS Kalvari is a diesel-electric attack submarine built by the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd for the Indian Navy. As per the plan, five more such submarines would be inducted into
People queued up since early morning to cast their ballot to decide the political fate of 851 candidates in the second and final phase of the bitterly fought Gujarat assembly elections. The votes in all the 182 seats will be counted on December 18. Over 22 million people are eligible to cast
Had the situation not been so desperate, then the AAP government’s proposal to sprinkle water from helicopters would have been considered hare-brained. But, a more practical solution to tackling air pollution may well be around the corner and it lies in the success of a pilot project in Iceland.
Would demonetisation and GST have an impact on the Gujarat elections?
In the organized manufacturing and service sector, employment is expected to increase from the current 38 million to 46-48 million by 2022, a new study has found. All the new forms of employment are expected to add a further 20% - 25% to the workforce of the current deﬁned “or
A day before a Supreme Court bench takes up petitions opposing mandatory Aadhaar linkage with several government services, the government has withdrawn its December 31 deadline to link Aadhaar with bank ac