H1N1: Is this the same virus as in the 1918 flu?


Ms. McCarthy: Dr. Besser, let’s stick with
you for a moment. This is Dorothy from Pittsburgh: If this current flu strain
is new, why has it been designated as H1N1, and is that the same designation as the 1918
“Spanish” flu viral strain? Dr. Besser: This strain is very different
from any previous straing that we’ve seen. The H1N1 are technical designations that
refer to various parts of the virus itself. So in 1918, there was a virus that had specific
designation. This H1N1 is a new novel strain that is unrelated to the previous strains. Ms. McCarthy: So it is unrelated. So just help us
out on the naming of this. It’s a technical thing. It doesn’t have to – In another words it
won’t be necessarily H6 or something like that. Dr. Besser: Yeah. The H refers to hemagglutinin
and the N to neuraminidase and that probably is as far as we need to go on that one.
Ms. McCarthy: OK well we’ll stop there for today, but it’s an excellent question.
Secretary Napolitano: I was gonna say just what he said. (laughter) Ms. McCarthy: People do want to know..
Secretary Sebelius: And you would’ve been right. Ms. McCarthy: What does that mean?
Secretary Sebelius: Right. Ms. McCarthy: And is it named like hurricanes
or something? So ‘No’ is the answer.

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