New Delhi: The much-dreaded H1N1 flu which is spreading fear across the globe is actually a deadly cocktail of three viruses namely Avian flu, human flu and swine flu making difficult to contain it.
According to Dr V N Katoch, Director Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) several influenza viruses keep on circulating among human, birds and animals like pigs and keep on recombining and reasserting with each others. These changes cause genetic variations among these viruses and new viruses emerge in this process.
“Most of the time this recombination does not cause much effect and goes unnoticed. But sometimes (as in present case) their capacity increase manifold and that is when they cause major damage to its carriers,” he told PTI.
Katoch said the last time the world saw the emergence of such a virus was in 1918 when the Spanish flu outbreak wiped off nearly 50-100 million people in Europe.
Observing that in the recent case of flu outbreak, it has not been ascertained how the virus has recombined, the scientist said, while screening the suspected H1N1 patients doctors look for the genetic structure of the virus. “If it is same to that of H1N1 then the patient is infected with it”.
The sequencing of the virus has been done in the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta.