Brandon Keim at WiredScience has a new article on swine flu genomics.
“This is what we call a reassortment between two currently circulating pig flu viruses,” said Andrew Rambaut, a University of Edinburgh viral geneticist. “Why it’s emerged in humans is anyone’s guess. It hasn’t been seen before in pigs as far as I know.”
“The new neuraminidase gene that came in from Eurasian swine is one we’ve never before seen circulating in humans,” said Rambaut. “That’s one of the reasons it’s spreading rapidly. Very few people will have any immunity to this particular combination, which is what gives the concern that this will be a pandemic rather than just a normal seasonal flu outbreak. It remains to be seen how much and to what extent there is existing immunity.”
Story still evolving…Keim does mention that “a document released to scientists and obtained by Wired.com affirms their analysis.” Could be out in the literature soon, possibly?
I was hoping to have a post up today with more thoughts on the whole pig issue, but no time to do anything but quick posts. Hopefully tomorrow…