Team McCallum

R&D for Lifetime of Life

Influenza update.

Prof Ten Feizi of Imperial College London has reported why one variant of pandemic H1N1 influenza (swine flu) is much more deadly than the standard strain. The findings are due to appear in the Journal of Virology next week.

The World Health Organization (WHO) noted that some genetic variations on H1N1 were being found by laboratories around the world.  One is called D222g substitution.

This D222g variant was found in just 1.8% of all cases of pandemic H1N1, but it was found in 7.1% of deaths from the influenza. H1N1 is generally mild but this variation is much more serious.

Prof Feizi found this variant, but not ‘normal’ pandemic H1N1, invaded hair cells (cilia) stopping these from working. The hair cells are a key part of clearing out germs and halting this allowed the virus to penetrate the lungs more easily.

The WHO issued a report on mutations in pandemic H1N1 in Dec 2009. It found that the D222g variant had appeared in 20 countries across the Americas, Europe, Asia and Oceania.

The good news is that there was no clustering of D222g either in location or in time, suggesting this variant is due to sporadic variations rather than sustained transmission. When the WHO went back to the labs, it was found that a number of specimens cultured in the labs had the D222g variant, even though the sample tissues from which they came did not – spontaneous evolution.

The bad news is that a number of the D222g variants also carried a second variant, one that makes it resistant to oseltamivir (Tamiflu). This is in line with a report published on TeamMcCallum in April that pandemic H1N1 appears to be gaining resistance to Tamiflu, but not yet to zanamivir (Relenza).

The winning recipe at this time would appear to be the current influenza vaccine plus zanamivir.


October 22, 2010 - Posted by | H1N1, Health, Influenza, Oseltamivir, Relenza, Success, Tamiflu, Ten Feizi, Vaccine, Zanamivir

1 Comment »

  1. […] Leer completo en: Influenza update. […]

    Pingback by Influenza update. | Todo sobre la Influenza AH1N1 | All About Influenza | October 22, 2010 | Reply

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