Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/11/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Scientists warn that this virus is a mere five steps away from contagion levels

The avian flu, or H5N1 virus was so deadly scientists once halted research as governments feared it might be used by terrorists to stage a biological attack. The dreaded H5N1 avian influenza has since killed 60 percent of the 650 humans known to be infected from it. What kept panic in check was the fact that the virus couldn't be spread between human to human - but scientists now warn that's closer to reality. 

When the healthy ferret developed flu symptoms, such as ruffled fur, loss of appetite and lack of energy - researchers knew the virus had spread through the air.

When the healthy ferret developed flu symptoms, such as ruffled fur, loss of appetite and lack of energy - researchers knew the virus had spread through the air.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/11/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: H5N1, virus, avian flu, mutations, experiments


LOS ANGELES, ca (Catholic Online) - First identified in Hong Kong 17 years ago, the "bird flu" virus has yet to evolve a means of spreading easily among people. Dutch researchers have since discovered that the virus needs only five favorable gene mutations to become transmissible through coughing or sneezing, like regular flu viruses.

The world scientific community now dreads that the H5N1 virus will eventually become transmissible through the air - leading to a devastating pandemic. While the new study suggests the mutations needed are relatively few, it remains unclear whether they're likely to happen outside the laboratory.

Check out our fine selection of Bibles -- by going here!


"This certainly does not mean that H5N1 is now more likely to cause a pandemic," Ron Fouchier, a virologist at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands says. The coauthor of the study published this week in the journal "Cell." ". But it does mean that we should not exclude the possibility that it might happen."

Scientists used ferrets as the stand-in for humans, because their immune system responds similarly to the disease.

Prior research proved that H5N1 could become contagious in ferrets if the virus was passed through a succession of animals, essentially forcing the virus to evolve at an accelerated rate. Fouchier and his colleagues in this experiments found that the newly contagious viruses had accumulated nine or more mutations.

The authors in the new experiments set out to determine the minimum number of mutations necessary for airborne infection.

Researchers used a strain of the virus that had previously infected a human and altered its genes in the lab. Spraying the altered version of the virus into a ferret's nose, researchers placed the animal in a specially constructed cage with a second ferret who had not been exposed to the virus.

When the healthy ferret developed flu symptoms, such as ruffled fur, loss of appetite and lack of energy - researchers knew the virus had spread through the air.

Exposing ferrets and human tissue samples to a variety of genetically altered viruses, study authors identified five key gene mutations.

Two of them improved the virus' ability to latch onto cells in the ferret's upper respiratory tract. Once there, it could enter the cell, disgorge its genetic material and cause the cell to mass-produce copies of the virus.

"Another mutation increases the stability of the virus," Fouchier said. "The remaining mutations enable the virus to replicate more efficiently. Only two of the ferrets in the study died, but neither death was caused by the flu.

Virologists said the findings were important, as they provided health authorities with a means of discerning whether mutations observed in the wild are dangerous to people.

"This is important work," Yoshihiro Kawaoka, a virologist at the University Of Wisconsin School Of Veterinary Medicine says. "This could contribute to surveillance of avian influenza viruses in nature."

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for DECEMBER 2016
Universal:
End to Child-Soldiers: That the scandal of child-soldiers may be eliminated the world over.
Evangelization: Europe: That the peoples of Europe may rediscover the beauty, goodness, and truth of the Gospel which gives joy and hope to life.



Comments


More Health

Faith, science or a miracle? Doctors baffled at nun's high function despite aggressive Alzheimer's Watch

Image of One nun's brain revealed aggressive Alzheimer's yet she remained fully-functional and of sound mind.

By Monique Crawford (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Sister Bernadette was a famous participant of a Nun Study focused on understanding the horrors of Alzheimer's. What she contributed to the medical community changed everything previously believed about the debilitating disease. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Here's why all those c-sections are messing with evolution Watch

Image of Are c-sections driving evolution? All medical procedures that save lives are driving evolution to some extent.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Repeated use of C-sections to give birth could be 'messing' with evolution, scientists say. As women with narrow pelvises survive childbirth, they are passing their genes to the next generation, increasing the population of women who cannot deliver children naturally. ... continue reading


Good riddance Obamacare! Coercive, expensive law is about to die Watch

Image of Tom Price (R-GA) has been asked to head the HHS. His appointment is a signal that Obamacare will be repealed.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Obamacare isn't going to survive the Obama administration, but what will replace it? As speculation grows, Americans are becoming nervous of how they will meet their healthcare needs; the stakes are high. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) -- The death knell of ... continue reading


Mass grave excavated in Lincolnshire - how did these people die? Watch

Image of The plague wiped out entire villages within days.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Archaeologists have uncovered a mass grave in England where the population of an entire small community was buried after being wiped out by the plague. The site revealed the cause of death for the population as well as the sufferings and afflictions these people ... continue reading


'It is an important step forward' - Hope for paralyzed humans after scientists help monkeys walk Watch

Image of Grégoire Courtine holds a silicon model of a primate's brain and a brain implant.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

With only two small implants, scientists believe they can help paralyzed people with spinal injuries walk again - <i>instantly</i>. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to <a ... continue reading


Thirteen infected, 4 DEAD and more endangered in United States Watch

Image of The CDC remains on high alert in lieu of the devastation the fungus can cause.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Most people use yeast to make delicious breads and desserts but what has hit the United States is a different sort of yeast entirely. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A yeast-based infectious fungus was first discovered in a Japanese patient complaining of an ear ... continue reading


Science knows of a 100 percent effective cure for antibiotic resistant STDs, so why aren't we using it? Watch

Image of Scientists know about an amazing STD solution that is 100 percent effective. So why aren't we using it?

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise in America, reaching levels never before seen by doctors. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) are on the rise in America, likely fueled by increased sexual promiscuity and growing ... continue reading


Researchers have discovered the human body's expiration date Watch

Image of Researchers claim the human body is incapable of exceeding a certain number of years.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Scientists have been reporting the average life expectancy for years, but new evidence suggests the human body is incapable of functioning after a certain amount of time. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine's ... continue reading


'What we gain in Christ is much greater than what we've lost' - Woman turns to God after illness sweeping U.S. hits home Watch

Image of Children in the US have been developing a polio-like illness (Facebook).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

On Monday, the CDC reported a rise in acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) across the U.S., resulting in 50 cases within seven months. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Between January and August, the CDC reported fifty cases of the horrific disease that can leave children ... continue reading


HIV 'vanishes' from 44-year-old British man's blood Watch

Image of First man cured of HIV uses new therapy (Michael Jung/Shutterstock).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A new therapy for HIV patients has resulted in its first success! LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/10/02/hiv-cure-close-after-disease-vanishes-from-blood-of-british-man/">Telegraph</a>, a ... continue reading


All Health News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 48:17-19
17 Thus says Yahweh, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am Yahweh ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 1:1-2, 3, 4, 6
1 How blessed is anyone who rejects the advice of the wicked and does not ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 11:16-19
16 'What comparison can I find for this generation? It is like children ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 9th, 2016 Image

St. Juan Diego
December 9: Saint Juan Diego was born in 1474 as ... Read More