Feeds

Scientists collar bird flu's 'killer' gene

Opens path to vaccine

A new approach to endpoint data protection

Scientists in China report that they have identified the gene which determines the virulence of the H5N1, or bird flu, virus in poultry. The breakthrough could pave the way for new vaccines, the scientists claim.

Some strains of H5N1 kill more than half those they infect, while others leave virtually all their victims standing. Understanding what it is that makes one strain of the virus more deadly than another gives researchers something to target when developing a vaccine.

Bu Zhigao at the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute told Reuters "We can now understand how this virus becomes lethal and the molecular basis for its pathogenicity."

He says that a vaccine targeting the "highly pathogenic" NS1 gene could be developed very quickly. "Technically, that can happen very soon, but it is the tests and other procedures that will take a long time," he said.

The research team took samples from geese that died from the disease in 1996, in the southern Guangdon province, and studied two closely related strains of the virus. One strain was very deadly to chickens, and the other relatively harmless. They found that the key differences lay in just four genes.

By genetically altering the virus to create four new variations, they were able to determine which of those genes controlled how likely the virus is to kill anything it infects.

The work is published in the November issue of the Journal of Virology. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH
Ultralight solar radio tracker in glorious 25,000km almost-space odyssey
Boffins spot weirder quantum capers as neutrons take the high road, spin takes the low
Cheshire cat effect see neutrons and their properties walk different paths
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?