Scientists believe they know why the virus was able to replicate as fast as it did last year.
A typical flu virus requires the presence of two amino acids — lysine and asparagines — in specific sites on a key avian protein in order to jump from an animal and replicate efficiently in human cells.
Yoshihiro Kawaoka, a leading influenza expert and a professor of pathobiological sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Veterinary Medicine, says they found the change that caused it to replicate in humans very well. Yoshihiro and his colleagues found that the lysine amino acid is located in a completely different location on the avian protein in the H1N1 virus. This is what gives the virus the ability to adapt to and co-opt human cells.
More importantly this according to Yoshihiro gives another marker to help predict future flu pandemics.
On a related note, WHO declared H1N1 pandemic to be over.
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