Recent news sources reveal that the H6N1 bird flu strain has affected a Taiwanese woman. Scientists and doctors never thought that this strain of the virus could ever attack the human beings.
Scientists reported that they are taken aback by the news that H6N1 bird flu attacked a 20 year old female.
Flu like symptoms was observed in the woman initially along with shortness of breath. Initially, doctors thought that it was a lung infection. However, later they found that it was an attack by H6N1 virus. The woman was then hospitalized during May, 2013.
The H6N1 strain of virus is completely different from another new strain known as H7N9. This strain of virus infected over 139 people in Taiwan and China to date. The strain is found responsible to claim the lives of about 45 people while 137 people have been infected after the spring season. News sources confirm that the 12th person has succumbed to this virus in Cambodia this year.
The H6N1 virus gets infected via chicken. Researchers and doctors reported that this virus is circulating in China since the 1970s. A study performed by Dr. Ho-Sheng Wu, in the Centres for Disease Control in Taiwan reported that they sequenced the genome of the H6N1 virus from the human sample derived from the upper airway passage of the infected patient.
They found that the human virus resembled a lot to the chicken virus. However, there is a minor difference between these two viruses. One protein particle that coats the virus remains mutated in the human version of the virus. The mutation helped the virus to be attached to a receptor of the higher airway of the humans. The receptor to which the virus got attached after mutation is called SAa-2, 6.
Scientists say that as the virus is able to mutate itself continuously, hence it can affect more number of people. This means it might be a potential risk for the humans. This is because if the virus stays mutated all time, then it would be a problem for the scientists to discover medicines for it.