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    Bird flu samples show new mutation

    Hürriyet Haber
    15.01.2006 - 11:55 | Son Güncelleme:

    Samples taken from two of the bird flu victims in Turkey have doctors concerned, as an analysis of the sample shows a change in one gene in one of the two samples tested. World Health Organisation (WHO) has said, however, that it is too early to tell whether this means the deadly strain of the virus has mutated into a form passable from human to human. The mutation, which allows the virus to bind to a human cell more easily than to a bird cell, is a shift in the direction of the virus being able to infect people more easily than it does now, reported AP.

    “We assume this could be one small step in the virus' attempt to adapt to humans,” WHO virologist Mike Perdue said on Thursday. “But it's seen only in one isolated case and it's difficult to make sweeping conclusions. We just have to wait and see what the rest of the viruses (from Turkey) look like.”

    The number of people confirmed with the deadly H5N1 strain has risen from 15 to 18, according to Turkish health authorities on Thursday.

    All victims to date are said to have had close contact with infected poultry.

    A laboratory in London is now analyzing the samples from Turkey, to try and understand how the virus is spreading.

    “If we saw it in more than 50% of samples, it would suggest the virus is really trying to adapt to humans and it would be problematic,” Perdue said.




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