An anonymous reader writes "Researchers have found that a gene mutation was the reason behind the increased virulence of the 2009 H1N1 swine flu virus which resulted in a pandemic across the world. 'The H1N1 virus, Kawaoka explains, is really a combination of four different avian and swine flu viruses that have emerged over the past 90 years, and even includes genetic residue of the 1918 pandemic virus, an influenza that killed as many as 20 million people.' The University of Wisconsin-Madison's School of Veterinary Medicine researchers identified the relocation of a specific amino acid in the gene matrix that enabled the virus to hijack host cells, a feat that triggered the recent pandemic." The World Health Organization's director general said H1N1 is likely to lose its status as a pandemic very soon.
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