In vivo reassortment of influenza viruses
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The genetic material of influenza A virus consists of eight negative-sense RNA segments. Under suitable conditions, the segmented structure of the viral genome allows an exchange of the individual gene segments between different strains, causing formation of new reassorted viruses. For reassortment to occur, co-infection with two or more influenza virus strains is necessary. The reassortment is an important evolutionary mechanism which can result in antigenic shifts that modify host range, pathology, and transmission of the influenza A viruses. In this process, the influenza virus strain with epidemic and/or pandemic potential can be created. Cases of this kind were in 1957 (Asian flu), 1968 (Hong Kong flu) and recently in 2009 (Mexico). Viruses containing genes of avian, swine, and/or human origin are widespread around the world, for example the triple reassortant H1N1 virus causing the 2009 influenza pandemic in 2009 that has become a seasonal virus. The aim of the study is to present the mechanism of reassortment and the results of experimental co-infection with different influenza viruses.
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