“Fouchier told the audience that virulence is a tough issue to describe and needs to be clearly defined. He said the virus was virulent in ferrets that were inoculated deep within their lungs, and it was virulent in those who were sickened via the aerosol route, though they didn’t die.
“There’s a lot of quotes in the press that are simply wrong,” he said, adding that the definition of virulence touches on other factors such as dose, immune status of the host, and previous exposure to other types of flu. Fouchier said full publication of both studies would help clarify questions scientists and observers have about virulence of the lab-modified viruses.
During today’s webcast, Racaniello asked for more details about the study, but Fouchier said the NSABB asked him not to disclose details about the methods or mutations.
However, he said his group found a number of mutations in common when they sequenced the viruses that had made the jump to airborne spread. “Most of those were pretty interesting,” he said, adding that some of the mutations are the same ones Kawaoka’s group found, though that group took a different approach to the study. “That was a shock to me and to Yoshi,” he said.”
Meaning that we should be out there LOOKing for them…thanks, Vincent!
Image courtesy Russell Kightley Media