Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Second H7 strain of avian flu identified

Researchers from the CDC in Atlanta have identified H7 strains of the flu virus that have demonstrated some of the traits needed to infect humans. Scientists say that although there is no immediate indication that H7 will acquire damaging mutations, it is critical that global surveillance systems cover H7 in addition to H5.

Dr. Tumpey, who led the team from the CDC, found that H7N2 is capable of replicating in the respiratory tract of mammals and can be passed from animal to animal.

"This suggests that the virus could be acquiring an ability to bind to sugars found on the cells of the human windpipe. This happened during all three of the 20th-century flu pandemics, which occurred in 1918, 1957 and 1968. “These findings suggest that the H7 class of viruses are partially adapted to recognise the receptors that are preferred by the human influenza virus,” Dr Tumpey said. "

Full story at http://www.birdflubreakingnews.com/templates/birdflu/window.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.timesonline.co.uk%2Ftol%2Fnews%2Fuk%2Fscience%2Farticle4009755.ece

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