Emerging bird flu strain still far from affecting humans
Washington: Scientists have found that avian influenza virus H7N9, which killed several dozen people in China earlier this year, has not yet acquired the changes needed to infect humans easily.
In contrast to some initial studies that had suggested that H7N9 poses an imminent risk of a global pandemic, the new research from the Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), found, based on analyses of virus samples from the Chinese outbreak, that H7N9 is still mainly adapted for infecting birds, not humans.
"Luckily, H7N9 viruses just don't yet seem well adapted for binding to human receptors," Ian A. Wilson, the Hansen Professor of Structural Biology and chair of the Department of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology at TSRI, said.
H7N9 flu viruses infect birds, apparently causing them few or no symptoms. Until this year these strains had never been reported in humans. However, starting in February in two urban areas of eastern China, dozens of people began to come down with H7N9 flu.
Paulson's laboratory evaluated H7N9's ability to bind the sialylated sugar receptors to which flu viruses normally attach on host cells. Wilson's laboratory used X-ray crystallography to determine the atomic structures of the H7N9 hemagglutinin protein bound to these sialic acid receptor molecules.
In Wilson's laboratory, postdoctoral fellow Rui Xu, the study's first author, along with Staff Scientist Xueyong Zhu and Research Assistant Wenli Yu, performed X-ray crystallography studies of the Sh2 HA protein bound to several avian- and human-type receptors. The latter, provided by Paulson's laboratory, were more accurate versions of these receptors than any that had been used in previous H7N9 structural analyses.
The new data highlighted the looseness of the contacts that Sh2 HA makes with human-type receptors, in contrast to the snug couplings it makes with certain avian-type receptors.
The study is published in the journal Science.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Dr Subhash Chandra Show: Aspiring for more than what you have!
- Rajasthan: Gujjars revive reservation agitation, block rail track
- J Jayalalithaa sworn-in as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
- ISIS to buy first nuclear weapon from Pak?
- Mumbai: CCTV captures assailant with gun at Film City
- Mathura SSP receives death threat letter, message for PM Modi
- BJP now central pole of Indian politics: Arun Jaitley
- Maharashtra FDA sends Maggi noodles for lab testing
- Watch: Fast N Facts @ 7:30pm
- Reservation issue: Police register case against Bainsla, 20 others
- Haridwar: Hotel Radisson Blu sealed for polluting Ganga
- Zee Media exclusive chat with 'Welcome to Karachi' cast
- Zee Media exclusive interview with Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar
- Girl in Punjab's Pathankot quit studies for fear of eve-teasing
- Special: Furious over rising water crisis, people take to the streets
- Goa Board SSC Exam Results 2015 announced
- ISIS close to buying nuclear weapon from Pakistan?
- Credibility of Prime Minister's Office restored by BJP, says Arun Jaitley
- IPL 2015 Final: Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings - Preview
- Arvind Kejriwal to highlight AAP govt's 100 days work on Monday
- CBSE Results 2015: 10th board exam results to be declared on May 27
- BJP's plan for one-year celebration: 200 big rallies, 5,000 public meetings
- Heatwave leaves 153 dead in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh
- IPL 8 Final: We need to be at our best against Mumbai, says Michael Hussey
- IPL 2015 Final: MI vs CSK - As it happened...
- Heatwave kills 223 in AP, Telangana, Chandrababu Naidu announces compensation; Delhi records hottest day
- Heatwave continues in North India; death toll in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana more than 400
- 'Tanu Weds Manu Returns' starts on a good note at the Box Office!
- CBSE Results 2015: 12th board exam results to be declared on May 25
- Shocking! 7 veg food items that may actually be non veg