Home / Politics / Policy /  Govt dismisses MIT report on swine flu

New Delhi: India on Thursday dismissed a study that said the swine flu virus in the country has mutated to a more dangerous form, saying the strains studied by the National Institute of Virology (NIV) showed no mutations.

A Massachusetts Institute of Technology study published in Cell Host & Microbe on Wednesday said the viruses causing the 2014-15 H1N1 outbreak in India have enhanced virulence.

But India’s health ministry said in a note that after carefully examining the findings mentioned in the study, NIV experts found that the report on antigenic/genetic analysis of this H1N1 virus by CDC/WHO, too, did not report oseltamivir resistance or other genetic changes in Hemagglutinin (HA) genes.

The note further said the strain mentioned in the report of 2014 has no relevance to the current outbreak. “Recently, NIV has analysed six full genomes, which also suggests absence of such mutations," said the note.

Author of the MIT study Ram Sasisekharan had said on Wednesday that analysis of the existing 2009pdmH1N1 HA sequences showed that H1N1 has evolved genetically from the 2009 pandemic strain, and the Indian-origin strain in 2014 carries the critical mutations K166Q, T200A and D225N on the globular head region of the protein—these mutations suggest changes in virulence properties of the H1N1 virus.

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