To Pangea on Mosiac problems Part 6

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Posted by Christian Scholar ( on April 17, 2004 at 21:41:41:

I am sure you remember the epidemic that occurred in 1998 where an influenza H3N2 infected many. They were a direct result of the Pig population. The reason I bring this up is because I read in an article by virologist Robert Webster (St. Jude’s Children’s Research hospital) where he did a study on the way viruses mutate and incubate within the pig (without infecting them). In his Evolution of Swine H3N2 Influenza Viruses in the United States, an article you can find on the net, he says,

“Pigs have been postulated to play an important role in the process of genetic reassortment by acting as the "mixing vessel" for such events (27). Pigs, unlike humans (1), seem to be readily infected by avian viruses, and most, if not all, avian HA subtypes are capable of replicating in swine (18). A molecular mechanism has been proposed for the susceptibility of swine to avian virus infection. The viral receptor sialyloligosaccharides that are present on the pig tracheal cells possess both N-acetylneuraminic acid, a2, 3 Galactose (NueAca2,3 Gal) and NueAca2,3 Gal linkage (17). Human influenza viruses preferentially bind NeuAca2,3 Gal linkages, whereas avian influenza viruses bind NeuAca2,3 Gal linkages. Thus, pig tracheal cells can be infected not only by human influenza viruses but also by avian influenza viruses. The direct chicken-to-human transmission of H5N1 viruses in Hong Kong during 1997, however, argues that factors in addition to receptor specificity must be involved in influenza virus interspecies transmission (10, 30, 31).”

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