Flu Virion This negative-stained transmission electron micrograph (TEM) depicts the ultrastructural details of an influenza virus particle, or virion. Cynthia Goldsmith, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Just a handful of genetic mutations can turn bird flu into a highly infectious pathogen that could wreak havoc on humans, according to a new paper published today. It's the first of two controversial virus mutation papers to get its day in the sun, and it shows how the H5N1 flu could evolve to infect mammals. To test the virus, researchers led by Masaki Imai and Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin-Madison combined elements of avian flu with a recent pandemic human flu, the 2009 variant of H1N1 (you may know it as the swine flu). The new flu was capable of passing from experimental ferret to ferret through the air. (Ferrets are considered the best animal model of how flu works in...
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