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Mutations in influenza that facilitate human-to-human transmission

Swart, D.H. (2013) Mutations in influenza that facilitate human-to-human transmission. Bachelor's Thesis, Biology.

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Pandemics are a serious health threat and therefore influenza cases are continuously monitored by the World Health Organization (WHO). The pandemics are caused by antigenic shift of influenza. Often this new reassortent virus is not transmissible from human-to-human, however research showed that only a few mutations are sufficient to acquire this feature. Some of these mutations are already seen in ‘wild’ influenza strains. Therefore I investigate the mutations that are required for an influenza virus to facilitate human-to-human transmission, and how this information can contribute to the surveillance of pandemic influenza strains. Mutations N224K, Q226L and T318I in haemagglutinin (HA) of H5N1 change receptor specificity. These mutations result in a high affinity for α-2,6- linked sialic acid displayed on human cells. A H275Y in combination with a D354G or R222Q mutation in neuraminidase (NA) result in an increased transmissibility. And an A271T mutation in polymerase protein 2 (PB2) increases air droplet transmission. The mutations found in HA, NA and polymerase proteins of influenza result in a different conformation of the enzymatic site of these viral proteins. The WHO continuously monitors the strains of influenza for potential pandemic threat, maintaining the pandemic model. The surveillance system they are using is the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS). The data they acquire is uploaded in FluNet, which is an influenza surveillance tool. To improve their surveillance system a new database should be developed. This database should incorporate our current knowledge about mutations, climate information and demographics. In conclusion, mutations in or near the enzymatic site of HA, NA and polymerase proteins are crucial for human-to-human transmission. This information can contribute to surveillance by developing a database. In this database the known mutations are connected to a pandemic risk.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 07:52
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 07:52

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