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Investigators at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, led by Yoshihiro Kawaoka, D.V.M., M.D., and supported by the NIAID Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance (CEIRS), found that infection with human H1N1 viruses that are antigenically related to viruses circulating in 1918 confers neutralizing antibody activity against the currently circulating 2009 novel H1N1. These findings suggest that people alive during the 1918 influenza pandemic have the most protection against the current 2009 H1N1 influenza virus because of their prior exposure.
The researchers also conducted a detailed study of the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus in pigs, mice, ferrets, and non-human primates. This study showed that in all but the pigs, lung infections were more severe than would be expected from average seasonal influenza viruses.
Finally, the team confirmed that some commercially available antiviral drugs, including oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza), are effective against the new H1N1 pandemic virus in human cells grown in the lab.
Y Itoh et al. In vitro and in vivo characterization of new swine-origin H1N1 influenza viruses. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature08260 (2009).
Last Updated March 06, 2013
Last Reviewed March 06, 2013