H1N1 Swine Flu Strain In Indian Outbreak More Infectious, Virulent Than Previously Believed, Study Suggests

News outlets discuss a study published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe showing the H1N1 strain of swine flu circulating in India might be more infectious and severe than previously believed.

International Business Times: India swine flu has mutated to become more deadly as virus claims 1,200 lives
“The current outbreak of swine flu in India, which has so far killed over 1,200 people since December, appears to have mutated to become more deadly, a study has suggested…” (Osborne, 3/11).

PBS NewsHour: Swine flu outbreak sweeping India worse than health officials admit, study suggests
“…A mutation in the new H1N1 strain allows this form of swine flu to attack an infected person’s respiratory cells more virulently, according to the study published [Wednesday] in the journal, Cell Host & Microbe. This finding contradicts previous government reports that the strain currently sweeping India was the same strain and has not changed since it spread worldwide between 2009 and 2012 and left 18,000 people dead…” (Santhanam, 3/11).

TIME: India’s Swine Flu Virus Is Becoming More Severe and Infectious, Study Says
“…Researchers Ram Sasisekharan and Kannan Tharakaraman compared the two influenza strains currently affecting the Indian population with the 2009 strain of H1N1 using their respective genetic sequences. They found mutations in the Indian strains in a protein called hemagglutinin, which binds with receptors on the human body’s respiratory cells. One of the mutations is linked to increased severity of the disease, while another enhances its infectiousness…” (Iyengar, 3/12).

VOA News: India Struggles to Contain Worst Swine Flu Outbreak Since 2009
“…About 26,000 people have tested positive for the virus, and health officials say infections are continuing to spread as current unseasonal rains and high humidity that allow the virus to thrive…” (Rahman, 3/11).

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