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Thursday
Mar252010

New Recent Study of H1N1 Reveals Similarities between 2009 and 1918 Strains

Two teams of scientists report that the recent 2009 strain of H1N1 is remarkably similar to the 1918 strain that caused the deaths of millions early in the 20th century.

These similarities also explain why the elderly were not hit as hard and had some immunity to the more recent strain.

"Parts of the 2009 virus are remarkably similar to human H1N1 viruses circulating in the early 20th century," study senior author and Scripps professor Ian Wilson said in an institute news release. "Our findings provide strong evidence that exposure to earlier viruses has helped to provide some people with immunity to the recent influenza pandemic."

In a separate report, scientists have discovered that the 1918 and 2009 pandemic influenza viruses share a key structural detail -- both lack a cap of sugar molecules in a certain area -- that makes them susceptible to the same antibodies.

That study, headed by virologist Dr. Gary J. Nable, of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), "This is a surprising result," Nabel said in a statement. "We wouldn't have expected that cross-reactive antibodies would be generated against viruses separated by so many years."

Anthony Fauci, the director of NIAID said, "It gives us a new understanding of how pandemic viruses evolve into seasonal strains, and, importantly, provides direction for developing vaccines to slow or prevent that transformation."

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    Virologist Ian A. Wilson of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla and his colleagues studied the three-dimensional structure of the two hemagglutinins. They reported Wednesday in the online version of the journal Science that, despite 80 years of mutations, the two proteins had virtually identical amino acid sequences at a crucial binding site known as antigenic site Sa. That allows the two viruses to be recognized by the same antibodies. With colleagues at Vanderbilt, they confirmed this b
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    Current strain is similar to that seen in 1918, with implications for vaccine development, scientists say
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    Disaster Preparedness Blog - Emergency Preparedness Tips, Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Emergency Management - DISASTER PREPAREDNESS BLOG - New Recent Study of H1N1 Reveals Similarities between 2009 and 1918 Strains
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Reader Comments (2)

Novel H1N1 flu is a new influenza virus causing illness in people. This new virus was first detected in the U.S. in April 2009, and has spread to many countries around the world.

March 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNick Johnston

Yes Nick, the recent Novel H1N1 strain is a new strain. These studies are pointing to similarities discovered in both strains.

This discovery by two groups independent of one another gives insight into how they develop, mutate and evolve, which in turn helps us to better understand and fight them.

Here is some information from one of the studies:

"They reported Wednesday in the online version of the journal Science that, despite 80 years of mutations, the two proteins had virtually identical amino acid sequences at a crucial binding site known as antigenic site Sa. That allows the two viruses to be recognized by the same antibodies."

March 26, 2010 | Registered CommenterKeith Erwood

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