Wednesday, October 05, 2005

More "Captain Trips" Bird Flu


Working on virus samples from the remains of victims of the 1918 pandemic, the researchers were able to piece together the entire genetic sequence of the virus.

They found the virus contained elements that were new to humans of the time - making it highly virulent.

And analysis of the final three pieces of the virus' genetic code has revealed mutations that have striking similarities to those found in flu viruses found only in birds, such as the H5N1 strain currently found in south east Asia.

This strain has so far killed at least 65 people.

Many experts believe it is only a matter of time before H5N1, or a similar strain, causes many deaths in humans - possibly after combining with a human flu strain.


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