High mortality of Argentinian H1N1 influenza virus not linked to dangerous mutations
Penzberg/New York – The tremendously high mortality of a subtype of the pandemic H1N1 influenza virus strain that killed 6% (EU average 0.2 %) of all patients with a confirmed infection in Argentina is not due to dangerous mutations, according to preliminary analyses of 50 clinical samples with Roche Diagnostics’s (Penzberg, Germany) ultrafast sequencing robots. „We did not find any dangerous mutation, that could explain the high mortality or the occurence of resistance to antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu“, Professor Ian Lipkin from Columbia University (New York) told EuroBiotechNews. With more than 320 fatalities, Argentina has suffered the highest percentage of deaths from the H1N1 2009 virus worldwide.
While a spokesman of the WHO told EuroBiotechNews that this could be due to the fact that the published numbers of confirmed infections allow only a rough estimate about the number of people that really carry the pandemic virus, Lipkin’s team continues to sequence clinical isolates with next generation sequencers. Very preliminary data, which yet need to be verified, point to the possibility that the high mortality may be linked to co-infections with different viruses and bacteria, according to Lipkin, who started the collaborative analysis with Roche, Quintiles and researchers from Argentina’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases at the beginning of August.