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
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
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 thats 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
Two viruses infecting a single host cell can swap genetic material,
or reassort, creating hybrid strains with characteristics of each
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
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
February 23, 2010