News of the WeekVirology

From Two Mutations, an Important Clue About the Spanish Flu

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Science  02 Feb 2007:
Vol. 315, Issue 5812, pp. 582
DOI: 10.1126/science.315.5812.582

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A study published by Science this week (p. 655) confirms that a small change in a surface glycoprotein makes the 1918 influenza virus more "avian" and unable to transmit between ferrets, even though it still sickened them. Those same changes in reverse may be what started the 1918 catastrophe--and what could kick off the next one as well. (Read more.)