The article entitled "Hemagglutinin-neuraminidase balance confers respiratory-droplet transmissibility of the pandemic H1N1 influenza virus in ferrets" by Yen HL. et al. has been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The H1N1 pandemic in 2009 (human swine flu) is the first influenza pandemic to emerge after scientists understood that pandemic influenza arises from animals. This is therefore the first opportunity to understand the mechanisms of pandemic emergence and to understand the viral genetic changes that allow an animal virus to acquire human-to-human transmissibility. This study conducted by Dr Hui-Ling YEN reveals the secret in swine flu gene combinations which determines transmissibility of the virus in humans through the airborne route. The study opens the way to better understand the mechanisms of pandemic emergence, which will help scientists to better identify animal viruses of pandemic risk in the future.
More information available in the HKU press release.