Microbiology Term Paper

Topics: Influenza, Influenza A virus subtype H1N1, Pandemic Pages: 4 (1652 words) Published: December 10, 2012
H1N1: The Sneaky Killer

I chose to write my topic paper on the H1N1 virus. This virus has interested me since its reemergence in 2009. Its ability to change and adapt each time it shows up again attracted my attention. I hope to inform people about the virus along with the symptoms and how to go about avoiding it if you can, or treating it if you have it. This pandemic is avoidable through a simple vaccine that can be taken as a shot or as a nasal spray. Overall I find the H1N1 virus to be interesting and a puzzle that the doctors and scientists of today have to figure out. The swine flu, also known as H1N1 Virus, is a common virus that has been plaguing the human population on and off since the early 1900’s. Each year during flu season, people become sick with these flu’s that cause respiratory illness. Scientists have to come up with new medicines in order to treat these viruses each year. This is due to the fact that the viruses keep changing every year and become immune to past treatments. According to stopgerms.org, “A new strain of influenza A (H1N1) virus that is a mix of swine, human and/or avian influenza viruses has recently been reported that is contagious and spreading from human to human.” Where did this virus come from, and how do we plan to treat it?

The virus itself has been present in our population for a very long time. Although the normal flu virus is treatable through medicines prescribed by our doctors, these new strains of the virus (such as H1N1, H2N2, or H3N8) have different surface glycoproteins that make treating them very difficult. These changes on the surface of the viruses are called antigenic shifts. According to virology.ws, “There have been six instances of antigenic shift since 1889. In that year, H2N2 viruses circulated, followed by H3N8 in 1900, H1N1 in 1918, H2N2 in 1957, H3N2 in 1968, and H1N1 in 1977,” with the latest antigenic shift being in 2009 with the H1N1 virus. This shows the emergence of the H1N1 strain of the...
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