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Unexpected Weakness in H1N1's Method for Evading Detection by the Immune System

The H1N1 influenza virus has been keeping a secret that may be the key to defeating it and other flu viruses as well.

Researchers at Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) have found what they believe is a weakness in H1N1's method for evading detection by the immune system.

Comparing its genetic sequences going all the way back to the virus's first known appearance in the deadly "Spanish flu" outbreak of 1918, they discovered a previously unrealized role of receptor-binding residues in host evasion, which effectively becomes a bottleneck that keeps the virus in check.

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