Swine flu virus has mutated and become more virulent

A study by two researchers from MIT says the virus has undergone mutation and needs further research

GN Bureau | March 12, 2015


#swine flu   #hini   #virus   #virulent   #mutation   #health  

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.

http://www.cell.com/cell-host-microbe/fulltext/S1931-3128%2815%2900076-1

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.

Comments

 

Other News

Ordinances promulgated to boost agriculture

 After the announcement of the decisions by the government for reforms in the agricultural sector for raising the income of the farmers as part of the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, the president has promulgated two ordinances with the aim of giving a boost to rural India for farmers engaged in a

How Covid-19 can be a boon to slash tobacco disease burden

 The two-month Covid-19 lockdown has been both a bane and a boon for India’s 27 crore tobacco users. With tobacco not included in the list of essential goods and many states explicitly banning chewing tobacco over concerns of spitting, the sharp drop in availability has forced them to undergo wi

Maharshtra braces to face Cyclone Nisarga

 Even as Mumbai fights challenges posed by COVID-19 on multiple fronts and as the  coronavirus cases continue to rise daily, the city now faces a double whammy with the cyclone ‘Nisarga’ slated to make the landfall in Maharashtra Wednesday. A state-wide alert has been issued for Mumba

Harnessing the demographic capital: how effective are skilling programmes?

Probing data concerning increased job creation and the decline in unemployment has been holding the attention of economists and been subject of discussions in several think tanks in the preceding months. The NITI Aayog reports that 3.53 million new jobs were created between September 2017 and February 2018

It`s time to Unlock now, with economic focus

With Lockdown 4 ending Sunday, the home ministry has issued new guidelines to fight COVID-19 and for phased re-opening of areas outside the Containment Zones. The guidelines, issued based on extensive consultations held with states and UTs, will be effective from June 1 till June 30. The first phase of reo

Small kitchen gardens turn saviours for Gujarat tribal families

When the whole world is fighting COVID-19, food and nutrition security has become a major issue. The pandemic has aggravated the existing food crisis in India, especially in rural and tribal regions. There has been less availability of fresh foods in most parts of the country, and the tribal community has



Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter