While yielding valuable clues on the genetic origins of drug resistance, the findings also pave the way toward the development of new diagnostic kits for detecting and preventing the spread of global pandemic diseases.
A unique triple combination of bird, swine and human flu viruses, the pandemic influenza A(H1N1) virus, first detected in April of 2009, quickly spread from Mexico to locations across the world. By April 2010, outbreaks of the disease at both local and global scales had resulted in roughly 18,000 deaths worldwide, causing serious damage both to human health and on the global economy.
In Japan, the first case of the pandemic was reported on May 9, 2009, thereafter spreading to hundreds of people in Osaka and Kobe and eventually leading to more than 200 deaths in the country. Existing research on the spread of the virus in Japan has provided valuable information on local strains during the early phase of infection and on their classification into different groups. How the pandemic evolved to reach its peak phase of contagion, however, is not yet well understood.
To clarify the genetic basis for this evolution, the OSC group studied 253 samples of the virus collected from the Osaka area during the initial phase (May, 2009) and from the Kansai and Kanto areas during the peak phase (October, 2009 to January 2010) of contagion. Of 20 different mutation groups identified in the peak infection group, analysis revealed that 12 were entirely new to Japan. Rapid mutation of the virus strains was traced to a genome with an extremely high evolutionary rate.Among the variety of mutants discovered, the researchers were able to pinpoint two mutations which clearly differentiate the early phase and peak phase viruses. They also identified mutations in some viruses which confer resistance to Oseltamivir (Tamiflu), one of the most widely-used antiviral drugs. Published in the journal PLoS ONE, the findings together mark a major advance in efforts to understand the genetic origins of the 2009 A(H1N1) virus, and a key step in OSC-centered efforts to develop on-site detection techniques for controlling infection of deadly pandemics.
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Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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