Are you safe? Swine Flu virus mutates in India, becomes more lethal, says MIT study

Image: MIT
Image: MIT
Image: MIT

By Newsgram Staff Writer

The deadly swine flu virus has become even more lethal in India as it has mutated, a report by two Indian- American researchers at MIT’s Department of Biological Engineering has shown.

Contradicting reports from Indian health officials claiming that the H1N1 virus has not changed since it emerged in 2009, the MIT report says that the virus has undergone two crucial mutations in the hemagglutinin protein that are known to make the virus more virulent.

The researchers said that very little scientific data is available on the virus, and stressed on the need for better surveillance to track the outbreak and to help scientists to determine how to respond to this influenza variant.

‘We need to understand the pathology and the severity, rather than simply relying on anecdotal information.’ Ram Sasisekharan, one of the researchers said.

The virus killed more than 18,000 people worldwide between 2009 and 2012.

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Research Foundation through the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology, and the Skolkovo Foundation.

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