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Viral Hybrids Between Bird and Seasonal
Flu Could Create A Real Pandemic

After more than a year of the World Health Organization's false flu hype marketing a fake pandemic that never materialized, a new study is suggesting that genetic interactions between bird flu and H1N1 could actually create a real pandemic worthy of international concern.

According to the study, avian H5N1 influenza and human seasonal influenza viruses have the potential to create hybrid strains combining the virulence of bird flu with the pandemic ability of H1N1.

In laboratory experiments in mice, a single gene segment from a human seasonal flu virus, H3N2, was able to convert the avian H5N1 virus into a highly pathogenic form. The findings are reported the week of Feb. 22 in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"Some hybrids between H5N1 virus and seasonal influenza viruses were more pathogenic than the original H5N1 viruses. That is worrisome," says Yoshihiro Kawaoka, a virologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and senior author of the new study.

In late 2009, virologists and influenza authorities were becoming increasingly concerned that the 2009 A-H1N1 flu virus could “reassort” with the highly virulent H5N1 avian flu that’s still prevalent in parts of the world like China, and that a mutation could occur resulting in a new strain that has the lethality of H5N1 and the human transmissibility of A-H1N1.

The H5N1 bird flu virus has spread worldwide through bird populations and has caused 442 confirmed human cases and 262 deaths, according to the World Health Organization. To date, however, bird flu has not been able to spread effectively between people.

"H5N1 virus has never acquired the ability to transmit among humans, which is why we haven't had a pandemic. The worry is that the pandemic H1N1 virus may provide that nature in the background of this highly pathogenic H5N1 virus," says Kawaoka, a professor of pathobiological sciences at the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine.

Two viruses infecting a single host cell can swap genetic material, or reassort, creating hybrid strains with characteristics of each parent virus.

Before the current study, hybrid viruses generated in lab studies had always been less virulent than parent strains. However, the new findings raise concerns that H5N1 and pandemic H1N1 viruses could reassort in individuals exposed to both viruses and generate an influenza strain that is both highly virulent and contagious.

The researchers say surveillance of viral populations is critical to monitor the potential emergence of highly pathogenic viral variants due to reassortment of avian and human influenza viruses.

"With the new pandemic H1N1 virus, people sort of forgot about H5N1 avian influenza. But the reality is that H5N1 avian virus is still out there," Kawaoka says. "Our data suggests that it is possible there may be reassortment between H5 and pandemic H1N1 that can create a more pathogenic H5N1 virus."

An important consideration for the public is to realize that no vaccine will ever offer any kind of protection from such a pandemic event. It is wise to remain vigiliant in light of such findings and protecting your immunity naturally. Resorting to any conventional medical treatments such as anti-viral drugs and vaccines will only accerlerate the pandemic and increase your chances of infection.

Dave Mihalovic is a Naturopathic Doctor who specializes in vaccine research, cancer prevention and a natural approach to treatment.



February 23, 2010
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