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CDC study suggests H3N2 swine virus may have pandemic potential

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A CDC study led by microbiologist Terrence Tumpey has found that the H3N2 virus that infected several people in the United States last year, may have more pandemic potential than has been thought. The study is based on research conducted by the CDC on ferrets. The team has published the results of their study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The H3N2 virus, now called the H3N3 variant because it has changed since first being discovered, was first found in humans in the United States, but is believed to have migrated to pigs back in 2009. The version seen last year has apparently migrated back to humans after picking up a new gene from the H1N1 variant, a gene that many researchers believe makes flu viruses more easily transmissible.

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