H1N1 FLU BREAKING NEWS: Research priorities, possible placental transmission, infected animals, flu-fighting proteins

Dec 17, 2009

Modelers list H1N1 research needs to help form policy
A World Health Organization working group of mathematical modelers has presented a list of research needs to help inform policy choices related to the H1N1 pandemic. Leading the list of data needs are serologic surveys to assess what proportion of the population remains susceptible to the virus, says the group's article in PLoS Currents. The group also calls for monitoring the time course of the incidence of severe cases to help assess the effects of steps such as school closures.
PLoS Currents report

India suspects placental transmission of flu
A finding of H1N1 flu infection in a newborn, tested immediately after delivery because her mother was ill, has led Indian health authorities to suspect placental transmission of the flu virus, according to The Hindu newspaper. Placental transmission of influenza is thought to be rare but has been recorded with the H5N1 avian flu virus.
Dec 17 The Hindu report

Thailand, China report novel H1N1 in pigs, dogs
Two countries recently confirmed novel H1N1 viruses in animals: Thailand in pigs and China in pigs and two dogs, according to reports filed with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). All cases were detected during enhanced surveillance. The Thai outbreak involved piglets at a farm in Saraburi province. In China the virus was detected in pigs at a slaughterhouse in Heilongjiang province and in dogs at an animal hospital in Beijing.
Dec 17 OIE report from China

Scientists identify natural flu-fighting proteins
Writing in Cell, Boston researchers report the discovery of a family of natural antiviral proteins that help protect human cells from influenza, dengue, and West Nile viruses. In human and mouse cells, the proteins, called interferon-inducible transmembrane (IFITM) proteins, prevented most virus particles from infecting cells or slowed their invasion. The proteins were active against the pandemic H1N1 virus and other flu strains, according to a Harvard Medical School press release.
Cell report

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