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No mutation in flu virus so far

SHANGHAI researchers who decoded the genetic structure of the swine flu virus in two local patients have concluded that no major mutations have taken place during its journey from other parts of the world.

The genome sequencing, involving H1N1 virus samples taken from two patients at the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center, followed similar work by researchers in Beijing and Guangzhou.

Experts at the center said yesterday that the virus was the same as the one found in the United States and Australia, indicating that no genetic changes had occurred during the transmission process. Similar tests will be done on future flu patients to track possible mutations.

The local strains were obtained last Wednesday from a swine flu patient who arrived in Shanghai on May 23 from Australia and on Sunday from a patient who came in from the US on May 30.

"Getting the virus strain is very important for studying the development of the virus and enhancing research on reagents, vaccines and other medicines," said Lu Hongzhou, vice director of the Shanghai center.

On the prevention front, the Shanghai Institute of Biological Products expects to receive a swine flu virus strain sent by the World Health Organization this week to begin vaccine production.


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