Avian and human flu viruses combining

Avian and human flu viruses combining

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Credit: RUSSELL KIGHTLEY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Avian and human flu viruses combining. Computer artwork of avian influenza virus particles (green and light blue, H5N1 strain) and human influenza virus particles (dark blue and pink) infecting a cell (lower right). Viruses replicate by using the genetic replication machinery in the nucleus of a host cell. The genetic material from each virus is shown entering the nucleus (bottom right corner, purple surface). The genetic information may mix and form a new virus (red and yellow, lower left). This new virus might be able to spread from human to human, unlike the avian flu virus. There would be no resistance to this new strain, and a deadly pandemic would result. The H5N1 strain was first found in humans in South-East Asia in 1997.

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