Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Unit 6 Commission Research

For this unit I think I'm going to choose the Influenza virus.

'Influenza, more commonly known as flu, is a viral infection that's most common during the winter months and can cause fever, headache, cough, sore throat and muscle aches - as well as more dangerous complications.' (Dr. Rob Hicks)

Looking at images of the flu virus magnified it looks rather vicious with spikes used to attach itself to the host cells. These attachment spikes are known as hemagglutinin which make up for around 80% of the spikes while the other 20% is made up of neuraminidase which is mainly used for the release of newly produced virus particles from the host cell. Although the flu virus is generally easily treated there have been many instances where this is not the case due to different strands of the virus such as H1N1 which are much quicker in their growth. The deadliest case of a flu outbreak was the Spanish flu epidemic during 1918 which is recorded to have infected one billion people - half the world's population at the time. Reinforcing the point of its ease of eradication the virus is still among the top ten causes of death in America, shockingly ranking higher than that of the HIV virus which causes Aids.


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