Warning: New flu virus can skip from bats to humans

New route of transmission of influenza viruses detected

In South America, discovered Researchers a new Virus of type Influenza (flu Virus), the benefits of bats on the grass. In contrast to the other viruses from the group of agents uses a completely different way of infection. A research team from Switzerland examined the germ now in more detail. In the laboratory showed that the Virus can also infect cells of chickens, pigs, mice and man.

The “bat-flu”, might develop to a new zoonosis, i.e. a disease that leaps from animals to humans, “which results in the worst-case scenario of a global influenza pandemic with many serious illnesses and deaths,” write the researchers from the University of Zurich. The study results were recently published in the renowned journal “Nature”.

How to infect Influenza viruses and human cells?

According to the Robert Koch Institute in Germany, the Grassi is caused by the end of the flu, a total of four Influenza-lines: Influenza type A viruses (subtypes H1N1 and H3N2) and Influenza type B viruses (with the subtypes of Victoria – and Yamagata-line). “The previously known influenza viruses invade via Sialic acid in the host cells,” write the researchers from the University of Zurich. The chemical groups found on the surface of almost all cells of the human.

Novel influenza pathogen affects directly the immune system

In contrast to the known route of infection the discovered bat viruses use a completely different mechanism that was recently discovered by a Swiss research team. “The influenza virus using so-called MHC-II molecules for their entry into the host cell,” explains the Virologist Silke fortune in a press release of the study results. In the case of MHC-II molecules are protein compounds found on the surface of immune cells. You provide, in the normal case, the body is able to distinguish own from foreign cells.

Pathogens represents a risk for people and animals

“It was surprising that the bat-influenza viruses can be used not only MHC-II-Complexes of human cells, but also those of chickens, pigs, mice and various species of bat,” adds the first author of the study, Umut Karakus. The Virus have the Potential to infect humans as well as animals. So far no human infections are known.

Virus should now be further explored

Researchers from the University hospital of Freiburg suspect that it could be in the bat-Virus with the Mutation of a known flu Virus. “It is quite possible that the newly discovered route of infection on MHC-II is originated from the well-known Sialic acid-way”, explains Professor Schwemmle in a further press release to the Virus. His Team wants to investigate this in detail. Among other things, should also be clarified whether the risk that Influenza viruses evolve, with both routes of infection. “Because, obviously, influenza viruses are significantly more versatile than previously thought,” says the Professor. (vb)