From Our 2010 Archives
H1N1 Virus Yields Up More Secrets
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WEDNESDAY, March 24 (HealthDay News) -- The 2009 H1N1 "swine flu" virus shares remarkable similarities with strains that were rampant early in the 20th century, two teams of scientists report.
These structural similarities help explain why older people seemed to be less affected by H1N1 during the latest pandemic, researchers say, and they also point the way to better vaccines against the strain.
In one report, published in the March 25 online edition of Science, a team at The Scripps Research Institute and elsewhere say that the structure of the hemagglutinin (the influenza virus envelope protein) found on H1N1 is very similar to that of strains seen almost 100 years ago.
"Parts of the 2009 virus are remarkably similar to human H1N1 viruses circulating in the early 20th century," study senior author and Scripps professor Ian Wilson said in an institute news release. "Our findings provide strong evidence that exposure to earlier viruses has helped to provide some people with immunity to the recent influenza pandemic."
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