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Swine Flu Origins Revealed

A new analysis of the current swine-origin H1N1 influenza A virus suggests that transmission to humans occurred several months before recognition of the existing outbreak.

The work, published online in Nature June 10, highlights the need for systematic surveillance of influenza in swine, and provides evidence that new genetic elements in swine can result in the emergence of viruses with pandemic potential in humans.

'Using computational methods, developed over the last ten years at Oxford, we were able to reconstruct the origins and timescale of this new pandemic,' said Dr Oliver Pybus of Oxford University's Department of Zoology, an author of the paper. 'Our results show that this strain has been circulating among pigs, possibly among multiple continents, for many years prior to its transmission to humans.'
 
 

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