Tracking changes in avian influenza virus strains

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted July 7, 2008

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

Some North American avian influenza strains -- specifically, certain A H7 virus strains -- have properties that may enhance their potential to infect humans as well as their potential to spread from human to human, according to study findings reported by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers.

The study was published in the May 27 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, and its lead author noted that its results underscore the importance of continued influenza virus surveillance.

These viruses infect humans by attaching to certain sugar receptor molecules on cells in the respiratory tract. The greater this ability to bind or attach, the more likely it is that the virus will cause illness in humans and possibly be transmitted from human to human, researchers said.

In this study, three recent H7N2 strains and two H7N3 strains from North America were tested and found to bind to both avian and human receptors in varying degrees.

One virus, an H7N2 strain isolated from an immune-compromised man in New York in 2003, was found to have the greatest binding to human sugar receptors. Overall, the findings suggest that these North American avian influenza A H7 viruses are partially adapted to recognize the sugar receptors preferred by human influenza viruses and found in the human upper respiratory tract.

Note: This item originally appeared at

Back to top



Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story

Read story


American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story

Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story

Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story

Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story

Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story

Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story

Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn