H7N9 flu peril lies in deep lung infiltration: study

Friday, July 5, 2013
By Paul Martin

Terradaily.com
July 03, 2013

The H7N9 bird flu virus is a peril for humans because it replicates deep in the lungs where it can trigger a dangerous response from the immune system, a study said Wednesday.

In addition, no one is likely to have pre-existing immunity to H7N9 and so-called seasonal vaccines cannot protect against it, the study said, confirming suspicions among many virologists.

And while lab tests show that leading anti-flu drugs are effective, there are concerns the virus may acquire gene mutations to blunt these weapons, it added.

The study, published in Nature by the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Beijing, delved into the genetic ID of the virus which emerged in China in February.

The virus has been characterised by severe symptoms of pneumonia and respiratory distress, with a high fatality rate, especially among the elderly.

There have been 131 confirmed cases of H7N9 in China, with at least 40 fatalities, according to Chinese figures. An additional case of illness occurred in Taiwan, involving a man who had been working in China.

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