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H7N9 Pandemic threat

Human infections with a new avian influenza A (H7N9) virus continue to be reported in China. The virus has been detected in poultry in China as well. While mild illness in human cases has been seen, most patients have had severe respiratory illness and some people have died. The only case identified outside of China […]

What is avian influenza

Avian influenza, or ‘bird flu’, is a disease caused by an avian influenza A virus that normally infects only birds. In fact, all subtypes of the influenza A virus have their origin in wild birds, which means that influenza is a disease which cannot be eradicated. Waterfowl, such as ducks and geese, are natural reservoirs […]

What is pandemic influenza

Influenza viruses are changing continuously and new strains emerge from time to time. If a new influenza virus subtype, that is very different from all previous viruses, emerges and causes disease in the human population, people will have little or no specific immunity to it, and consequently this virus may spread quickly and become a […]

How they work

Two classes of antiviral agents have been developed for prevention and treatment of influenza: the M2 channel inhibitors (amantadine and rimantadine), and the neuraminidase inhibitors (zanamivir and oseltamivir). Amantadine and rimantadine were the first generation of influenza antiviral agents. These compounds specifically block the ion channel function of the M2 protein of influenza A virus, […]

How they work

When a person is exposed to an influenza virus, the innate and subsequently the adaptive or specific immune response kicks in and provides defence against the invading virus. Depending on the nature of the virus and the effectiveness of the immune response, the infected individual suffers from more or less severe consequences of the influenza […]

H7N9 Binding

Research demonstrated that the H7N9 virus was able to attach both in the upper and in the lower parts of the respiratory tract. Based on what is known from other influenza viruses, attachment to the upper part is important for efficient transmission. The ability to also attach to the lower parts of the respiratory tract, […]

Will there be a new pandemic?

With the current knowledge about influenza viruses in humans and animals, as well as the mechanisms that underlie the emergence of new pandemic viruses, it is reasonable to expect that also in the future influenza pandemics will emerge. However the unprecedented increase of our understanding of processes that determine the emergence of influenza viruses with […]

Does the vaccine have any side effects?

Serious adverse reactions to the influenza vaccine are rare, with most common reactions being local redness and swelling at the injection site. Other mild symptoms including headache, mild fever and sore muscles may occur in a very small percentage of people vaccinated, but are limited to 24-48 hours duration. Allergic reactions may occur in people […]