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Chinese expert warns of H1N1 and H5N1 pandemic mutation

Michael Krebs
Digital Journal [1]
Wednesday, November 25, 2009

With H1N1 mutations seen in Norway and noted in several countries, a Chinese expert issues a warning on the potential for a superbug combination of bird flu and swine flu.
As mutating viruses go, influenza species are notorious for making sloppy copies of themselves – and this behavior presents a challenge to public health officials who are charged with containing more dangerous and widespread disease.
On Wednesday, a Chinese disease expert spoke out [2] on the possibility of a dangerous combination between a more dangerous H1N1 swine flu virus mutation and China’s endemic H5N1 bird flu species. A swap in genetic code between these two dangerous viruses could create a superbug pandemic with the potential to wipe out the majority of human populations worldwide. “China, as you know, is different from other countries.



Inside China, H5N1 has been existing for some time, so if there is really a reassortment between H1N1 and H5N1, it will be a disaster,” Zhong Nanshan, director of the Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Diseases in China’s southern Guangdong province told Reuters.
Recently, Norwegian scientists discovered a more virulent mutation [4]of the H1N1 swine flu virus. Their discovery was immediately followed by disclosures from the World Health Organization that this same mutation has been observed in several countries, including China. While experts believe [5] that current vaccines are effective against the mutation, the WHO disclosures remained disconcerting.

Full story here. [1]