US Pharm. 2009;34(8):8.

Madison, WI -- Researchers at the University of Wisconsin reported that a new, comprehensive study shows that the virulence of the H1N1 flu virus may have been underestimated. Their comments appeared in the July 13, 2009, issue of Nature. According to virologist Yoshihiro Kawaoka and his research team, the H1N1 virus is different from other usual flu viruses in that it exhibits an ability to infect cells deep in the lungs, where it can cause pneumonia and, in severe cases, death. Seasonal viruses typically infect only cells in the upper respiratory system. This characteristic is similar to those of other pandemic viruses, notably the 1918 virus which killed tens of millions of people at the end of World War I. It is believed that people born before 1918 harbor antibodies that protect against the H1N1 virus.

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