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Home > India > News > PTI

Bird flu virus decoded!

February 05, 2008 17:13 IST

The code of dreaded virus, H5N1 avian influenza, which has devoured thousands of lives around the globe, has been cracked, claimed researchers at Griffith University Institute for Glycomics, Queensland.

A technique to 'crack-the-code' of the deadly H5N1 avian influenza virus had been developed by a team of researchers, led by Professor Mark von Itzstein at Griffith University Institute for Glycomics, Queensland, in collaboration with the Hong Kong University-Institute, said ScienceDaily.

According to Professor Itzstein, the new discovery would enable influenza virus specialists and drug researchers to interrogate one of the virus' key surface proteins without risk of infection,

"We are successful in developing a method to insert the deadly bird flu's H5 protein in a harmless vehicle called a 'virus-like particle', through which we can study it," he said.

"To better interrogate a virus protein, researchers need to observe and monitor the way it functions, without which it was just like a study of a gun's working via its bullet. But now it is possible in case of H5N1," Professor Itzstein said.

This will led to the rapid identification of avian and other influenza viruses that have attained the capacity to recognize human receptors and therefore acquired the potential for easy human-to-human transmission, which make it a deadly contagious disease.

The use of these virus-like particles as a vehicle for the virus protein also enables researchers to work without the need for high-containment laboratory procedures mandatory for handling live virus.

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