By solving a long-standing puzzle about how the influenza virus assembles its genetic contents into infectious particles that enable the virus to spread from cell to cell, scientists have opened a new gateway to a better understanding of one of the worlds most virulent diseases.
This insight into the genetic workings that underpin infection by flu, reported today (January 27, 2003) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), provides not only a better basic understanding of how flu and other viruses work, but holds significant promise for new and better vaccines and drugs to combat the disease by exposing the genetic trick it uses to form virus particles.
The new work is reported by a group led by Yoshihiro Kawaoka, a professor of pathobiological sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, who has a joint appointment at the University of Tokyo. The groups work describes how the flu virus selectively assembles the series of genetic subunits that make up the virus entire genome, which are needed to form the particles that shuttle the virus from cell to cell.
Yoshihiro Kawaoka | EurekAlert!
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