Basic virology

Transmission of influenza

In temperate climates, influenza displays distinct seasonality: infections mainly occur from November through March in the northern hemisphere, and from May to September in the southern hemisphere. The results of experiments in guinea pigs have revealed that aerosol transmission of influenza virus is most efficient in cold and dry conditions, and completely blocked at warm …

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Simplifying virus classification: The Baltimore system

Although many viruses are classified into individual families based on a variety of physical and biological criteria, they may also be placed in groups according to the type of genome in the virion. Over 30 years ago virologist David Baltimore devised an alternative classification scheme that takes into account the nature of the viral nucleic …

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Influenza neuraminidase and H5N1 pathogenicity

There are two glycoproteins embedded in the influenza viral membrane: the hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA). The NA, shown in yellow in the illustration, is an enzyme that removes sialic acids from the surface of the cell, so that newly formed virions can be released. The NA protein is composed of a box-like head attached …

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Virus neutralization by antibodies

The antibody response is crucial for preventing many viral infections and may also contribute to resolution of infection. When a vertebrate is infected with a virus, antibodies are produced against many epitopes on multiple virus proteins. A subset of these antibodies can block virus infection by a process that is called neutralization. Antibodies can neutralize viral infectivity …

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