RNA pattern of 'Swine' influenza virus isolated from man is similar to those of other swine influenza viruses

Peter Palese, Jerome L. Schulman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

IN February 1976, during an epidemic of influenza among military recruits at Fort Dix, New Jersey, five virus isolates were obtained which contained haemagglutinin and neuraminidase antigens indistinguishable from those of isolates of swine influenza virus1. Subsequent evidence of elevated serum antibody titre against 'swine' influenza virus in hundreds of individuals at Fort Dix2 prompted the US government to launch a national immunisation programme against 'swine' influenza virus. One current theory suggests that new, pandemic strains of influenza virus result from genetic recombination of human influenza A viruses and strains of virus that are resident in animal populations3,4. According to this hypothesis, recombinants may emerge containing genes derived from the animal virus which code for novel surface proteins, and genes derived from the human virus which confer properties of virulence in man. We have demonstrated that the genetic composition of recombinant viruses could be determined by comparison of RNA patterns of recombinant and parent viruses on urea-polyacrylamide gels 5-7. We have therefore used the same techniques to explore the possibility that the 'swine' virus isolated from recruits at Fort Dix is a recombinant of swine influenza virus from pigs and H3N2 influenza A virus currently prevalent in man.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)528-530
Number of pages3
JournalNature
Volume263
Issue number5577
DOIs
StatePublished - 1976
Externally publishedYes

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