Study suggests fears about swine flu superbug overblown

As we've noted in FierceHealthcare over the last few days, evidence has been trickling in that the H1N1 virus will turn into a "superbug," or at least prove more virulent than expected. Thankfully, at least one new study suggests that these fears are overblown.

To test the virus, a group of researchers from the University of Maryland exposed ferrets to three viruses: H1N1 and two seasonal flu strains. The researchers found that the H1N1 virus didn't go virulent when combined with other strains of seasonal flu likely to be out there.

On the other hand, the tests did suggest that swine flu would spread more rapidly than other viruses. In fact, the H1N1 strain dominated the other two, according to the study, which was published in the journal PLoS Currents. This suggests that vaccination campaigns are particularly important, the study concluded.

"The H1N1 pandemic virus has a clear biological advantage over the two main seasonal flu strains, and all the makings of a virus fully adapted to humans," said Daniel Perez, the lead researcher and program director of the University of Maryland-based Prevention and Control of Avian Influenza Coordinated Agricultural Project in a university news release.

To learn more about this study:
- read this HealthDay News piece

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