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View Diary: Presenting Panflu Prep On A Larger Stage (115 comments)

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  •  here's a pice by Gratton Woodson, MD (6+ / 0-)

    Another finding by Dr. Taubenberger’s team was that the 1918 flu genome contained several small genetic sequences or polymorphisms that caused it to have lethal characteristics.  Polymorphisms are simply different combinations of nucleotides that compose one or more RNA genes of the virus.  For instance, differences in hair color are due to polymorphisms in the human hair pigment gene.  All these human genes do the same thing, determine hair pigment but the result of their work is a little different.  The differences are due to polymorphisms within the gene structure.  Lethal polymorphisms are nucleotide combinations within a flu gene that code for a particularly nasty behavior.  For instance, one of these directs the virus to attack the brain; others cause the virus to disrupt the blood clotting system, while some result in attack of the heart and liver.  These behaviors are often fatal and this is why these polymorphisms are called lethal.  The lethal polymorphisms were absent from the genes of the 1957 and 1968 pandemic strains.  Many of these same lethal polymorphisms have been identified in the genome of the H5N1 bird flu. Not every strain has all of these lethal polymorphisms.  Their presence in bird flu is unsettling and is likely to be an important determinate of that virus’s case fatality rate should it achieve pandemic status.

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Mon Aug 06, 2007 at 10:59:31 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

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