New flu strains prove difficult to contract

Two new flu strains not easy to contract
Two new flu strains not easy to contract | Courtesy of
A recent study by The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) revealed evidence that two new influenza strains are not easy for humans to contract, making a pandemic unlikely.

The strains have caused random, spontaneous influenza infections in people living in Taiwan and China.

The study analyzed a certain protein from the strains, with results showing that the two strains -- which are subtypes from H10N8 and H6N1 flu strains -- would need to further mutate to have the characteristics that make them more contagious for humans.

The study also revealed that the bird flu viruses are versatile in how they attach to human cells.

“These bird flu viruses seem able to bind to receptors on host cells in different ways and thus can probably mutate in different ways to jump to humans -- so we shouldn’t be complacent about our ability to predict the viral changes required to get a pandemic,” Ian A. Wilson, professor of structural biology and chair of TSRI’s Department of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology, said.

Further details about the results of the latest study can be found in the Cell Host & Microbe journal that was published on March 11, 2015. The study was conducted by the laboratory of CEO James C. Paulson, as well as Wilson’s laboratory.

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