The Epoch Times | Flu Viruses Can Quickly Swap Genes
Posted On August 3, 2005
WASHINGTON — Strains of the influenza virus are constantly swapping genes among themselves and giving rise to new, dangerous strains at a rate faster than previously believed, U.S. researchers reported last Monday.
They found that slightly mutated influenza A strains in New York that circulated between 1999 and 2004 gave rise to the so-called Fujian strain that caused a troublesome outbreak in the 2003-2004 flu season.
Such events probably are what lead to the occasional pandemics of flu that can kill millions of people, David Lipman and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health found.
They hope their findings, published in the journal Public Library of Science Biology, will help scientists better predict which viral strains will attack during upcoming flu seasons and design better vaccines.