Influenza Past And Current Threats Biology Essay

Influenza is a life endangering disease caused by influenza virus. Structure of the virus is spherical and the subtypes can be distinguished by the placing of RNA ‘s. grippe virus has created many disastral events during 20th century. Particularly in 1918 the Spanish grippe has taken upto 60 billion lives merely in USA. After 1918 it has shown its power once more in 1957 and 1968 but these were non such atrocious as 1918. These menaces happening often is due to mutational alterations in the virus. Presently another menace, swine grippe is making pandemics and high mortality among all the people. To get the better of these some powerful vaccinum or drug has to be produced by our scientists.


Influenza is a common disease which can be seen normally in the small towns and little metropoliss all over the universe. Influenza got its name from Latin word ‘Influentia ‘ which means ‘Influence ‘ . Influenza is a extremely acute infective human pathogen chiefly affects the respiratory piece of land in the upper portion and is transmitted chiefly by airborne respiratory droplets. It is caused by grippe virus which belongs to the household orthomyxoviridae. Globally every twelvemonth 250,000 to 500,000 deceases are happening due to influenza. It is trouble oneselfing more than 60 billion Americans every twelvemonth. It is impacting people of all ages and had a terrible eruption in the 20th century ( pandemics ) ensuing in the decease of one million millions of people [ 7 ] . Influenza foremost infects animate beings so mammals got affected easy due to less unsusceptibility towards it. Influenza virus is chiefly divided into three types: A, B, C Ex: swine grippe, seasonal grippe, Avian ( bird ) grippe. Influenza A virus infects mammals and animate beings like hogs, Equus caballuss, birds etc. , and causes disease. Influenza B virus cause disease by infecting lone mammals but non animate beings where as Influenza C virus attacks merely mammals and cause disease really rare.

Influenza Virus:

The Orthomyxovirus means the affinity of viruses towards mucins. These viruses are pleomorphic, feverish and have an ability to adsorb mucoprotein receptors of RBC and causes haemagglutination. Influenza virus is spherical shaped and has a diameter of 80 to 120 nanometers [ 3 ] . It is enveloped with a coiling nucleocapsid and the outer envelope is made up of lipoprotein. It chiefly differs from paramyxoviruses in their RNA genome ( segmented into eight pieces ) [ 2 ] . RNA of these viruses is individual stranded with negative mutual opposition. It contains RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. Tetrameric neuraminidase ( NA ) and hemagglutinin ( HA ) are the two types of spikes inserted into the lipid bed which are glycoproteins.

Fig.1: Influenza virus [ 2 ]

These proteins are situated at RNA4 and RNA6 and are chiefly responsible to separate the types of grippe. Matrix protein, M1 is present below the lipoid protein which gives strength and rigidness for the envelope. The RNA sections are the cistrons of grippe virus. These sections consist of proteins: PA, HA, PB1, NA, B1, PB2, NP, M1, M2 and NS1, NS2 [ 6 ] . Sialic acid of the glycoproteins determines the type of grippe moving on it and can be explained by the amino acerb presence on hemagglutinin protein at 226 place [ 5 ] . Virus has an ability to undergo mutants by antigenic displacements and antigenic impetuss and therefore able to bring forth pandemics and epidemics.


Influenza is caused chiefly by the grippe virus and it has an ability to mutate and develop different strains. Due to this, in the past even exposure to the same strains may non support the new 1. Recently a research was made by scientist Darwyn Kobasa in which H1N1 virus has been extracted from a dead individual and resuspended into the monkeys. The consequences were rather unpleasant. Monkeys developed symptoms within 24 hour and died of lungs harm [ 30 ] . Actual cause for this state of affairs is non the virus but the response of the organic structure to infection. Immune system proteins and besides RIG-1 cistron are responsible for harm in the septic tissue and are found to be high in figure after the H1N1 viral infection [ 30 ] . After this experiment it is more distressing if alterations in virus are seen, more deadly the state of affairs will be.


Symptoms depend upon the badness of complications. Patients seem to be ill but it will be seldom complicated. Complication that is common in grippe is pneumonia.

For non-complicated grippe: Fever of 30-40°C. Myalgias, unease, dry cough and concern [ 4 ] . Ocular symptoms like cryings, photophobia. Gastro-intestinal symptoms like purging and diarrheas can be seen in H1N1 viral infection.

For pneumonic complications of grippe: Pneumonia caused by staphylococci aureus. In immature kids Croup ( acute laryngotracheobronchitis ) is observed, which includes symptoms like cough and stridor [ 4 ] . Patients with pneumonic or bosom disease can easy demo these complications ( pericarditis ) .

For non-pulmonary complications: Reye’s-syndrome-vomiting, sometimes consequence in coma. In kids after grippe B virus myositis can be seen. Encephalopathy ( Parkinson ‘s disease ) . Guillain-Barre syndrome which is besides called as ague idiopathic multiple neuritis [ 4 ] . Most of the deceases occurred are in the people aged over 65 and are due to cardiac and pneumonic failure. Substernal combustion, otitis media are some of the symptoms.


As the symptoms of both cold and grippe are similar, distinction has to be done carefully for the farther diagnosing and intervention. Specimens for research lab diagnosing are pharynx or rhinal swabs, phlegm, pharynx or rhinal swabs. Rapid diagnosing trials such as polymerase concatenation reaction ( PCR ) or cell culture-based trials, direct fluorescent antibody are performed. H7N7 viruses are diagnosed by PCR trials. Upper respiratory viruses and types of grippe impacting are differentiated by the fluorescent antibody trials and the strains can be differentiated by the viral civilizations [ 20 ] . Antigen sensing can be done by two trials utilizing monoclonal antibodies ( QUICKVUE and FLU QIA grippe trials ) . For the sensing of viral neuraminidase ZSTATFLU trial is used [ 3 ] . New techniques are chiefly based on separation-free bio affinity assay technique in which competitory binding check, serum antibodies and antigens are detected [ 21, 22 ] . Assay of antibody titre can be done by utilizing complement arrested development ( CF ) and haemagglutination suppression [ 3 ] .

Past menaces:

Influenza virus is difficult to command as it affects non merely worlds but besides animate beings. 10,000 old ages ago at the ice age terminal influenza A virus was emerged [ 29 ] . Pigs and chicken sometimes gets infected by more than one type of virus, a new virus strain is created by sharing the familial information. This may take to inauspicious effects on homo because newer the strains, lesser unsusceptibility towards it [ 13 ] . Most of the grippe epidemics seem to get down in the Asia ; it is because of the closer contact of worlds with the animate beings in the farms of rural countries. This close contact will reassign the virus between species and leads to a new signifier of virus. First pandemic grippe was occurred in 1580, which was originated from Asia so spread to Africa and Europe [ 15 ] where as the first influenza epidemic study was happened in 1173-4. Many studies showed that it is caused in the 14 and 15 century but the first study given by Molineux in 1964 was converting [ 14 ] . At early 18 century hiking in the information is observed both in its measure and quality. From the past two and half centuries 10-20 pandemics of grippes have occurred. Changes in the virus are due to the antigenic displacement which creates a new subtype and consequences in the epidemics [ 12 ] . In 1931 shope has isolated swine grippe A virus but the human grippe A virus has been discovered in 1933. This find led to tremendous advancement in the Fieldss of virology and immunology [ 16 ] .

Flu raises its activity between December and March and its activity is more in February month because of cold conditions which is suited for the endurance of viruses and besides easy distributing ( fig.2 ) . In fig.2 over past 21 old ages February is the peak clip for grippe activity for 9 old ages [ 4 ] .

Fig.2: peak months for the activity of Flu [ 4 ]

In the last century three grippe pandemics has occurred. In 1918, Spanish grippe ( caused by unusual virulent H1N1 virus ) showed inauspicious effects on the people ( fig.3 ) . 675,000 people lost their lives within a twelvemonth due to this virus in USA ( fig.4 ) and the entire toll decease was 50 million [ 27 ] . In US during 1918 influenza pandemic mortality of babies ( age 1-4 ) and the old people who are above 80 is more. Fluctuations in the extremums of the graph are observed because people who got affected by 1918 grippe already have a partial unsusceptibility towards it as already they got infected to the 1889 pandemic. If non, in this state of affairs mortality of the grownups has to be more. In the recent instances infective diseases like Human Immunodeficiency Virus are lay waste toing over a long period.

Transmissibility of 1918 virus:

Influenza HA virus from the isolate of 1918 Southcarolina ( SC18 ) binds to human receptor preferentially. An extra mutant to the avian consensus ( AV18 ) of HA will cut down the binding ability of HA to the sialic acid linkage in human. While New York ( NA18 ) amino acerb differs by a individual amino acid, it binds to avian and human receptors. SC18 is readily transmitted instead than AV18.

After 1918 the isolate of the virus is about absent but in 1957, Asiatic grippe with two new proteins on the surface are observed ( fig.3 ) [ 8 ] . The N2 subtype neuraminidase has 37 % of the overall affect on N1 subtype neuraminidase. After 39 old ages of H1N1 virus infection a small immune response in the worlds has been observed. This cellular unsusceptibility is non plenty for the new virus ( H2N2 virus ) which has affected several Americans in United States entirely and killed up to 70,000 people [ 10 ] .

Fig 2 full size

Fig.3: A subtypes of grippe A virus nowadays in human population

Three different hemagglutinin subtypes ( H1, H2 or H3 ) and two neuraminidase subtypes ( N1 or N2 ) of viruses are identified in worlds. Introduction of the pandemic strains in different old ages are indicated by squares severally. Similar strains of H1N1 virus ( 1950 ) are reintroduced in 1977. Broken lines indicate the absence of viral isolate absence and indirect grounds of strains that are circulated [ 8 ] .

Life anticipation in both the races is increased along with age ( fig.4 ) . The graph shows that the life anticipation in 1900 was about 47 old ages and has increased bit by bit to76 in 2001 with regard to United provinces. Whereas a major dip in the life anticipation is observed at 1918, which was a consequence of 1918 pandemic.

Fig 3 full size

Fig.4: A Life anticipation from 1900 to 2001 demoing the impact of the 1918 grippe pandemic [ 9 ] .

In 1968, virus ( H3N3 virus ) has changed its surface glycoprotein ‘s and resulted in another high mortality. In this the HA cistron encoding PB1 cistron has been changed [ 10 ] . Asiatic grippe of 1957 and Hong Kong grippe of 1968 are less terrible compared to Spanish grippe. Reappearance of H1N1 virus in 1977 has resulted decease of people less than 25 old ages, as they lack unsusceptibility in anterior. Avian grippe in 1997 is spread to kids from the poulet. Most of the poulet are slaughter but due to mutants it has recurred in 1999 [ 12 ] . In 2007 antigenic impetuss are merely seen with regard to influenza B virus. Between 2006 and 2007 vaccinums are created for the H1 and H3 strains which are trivalent.

National institute of wellness has funded a collaborative work of surveies which led to a better apprehension of 1918 and 1919 virus. This has done in coaction with Mount Sinai school of medical specialty, Armed forces institute of pathology ( samples from soldiers who died ) , CDC Atlanta, TSRI, Southeast domestic fowl research research lab, University of Washington. They have used contrary genetic sciences to retrace the 1918 virus. 8 plasmids of viral RNA look and 4 plasmids of protein look are transfected together to organize a recombinant grippe virus and are characterized [ 28 ] .

In 2004 eight states in Asia has reported H5N1 HPAI ( Avian grippe ) in domestic fowl. By 2006 more than 60 states has reported the instances of H5N1 virus. This virus has non merely affected poulet but besides wild birds and worlds. In 2005 eruption of H7N7 has been reported in Netherlands [ 29 ] . Human H5N1 instances which are updated on January 12, 2007 have confirmed 159 deceases out of 265 instances and the human death ratio was 50 % [ World Health Organisation ] .




Mortality rate




100 %




70 %




44 %




69 %




69 %




85 %




63 %

Fig.5: mortality rate of grippe from 2003 to 2008 [ 33 ]

The recent informations sing the instances, deceases and mortality rate of grippe are given in the fig.5. It explains that in 2006 the figure of instances of grippe is more when compared to rest of the old ages.

Current menaces:

Influenza A virus has 16 different subtypes which are observed and their ability to make epidemics are non known. Due to antigenic impetus and switch re-infection has occurred in the 2006, 2007 old ages. Reoccurrence was happened with many other viruses such as: terrible acute respiratory syndrome ( SARS ) , West Nile, Nipah and Hendra [ 29 ] . Current menace traveling on is because of the new strain of grippe H1N1 ( swine grippe ) virus. WHO has given high watchful stage of demand of response in 2009 stage alterations [ 25 ] . On May 4, 2009 WHO has confirmed that in 20 states 286 instances are seen and this has come from Mexico. Current eruption of influenza H1N1 virus ( avian in beginning ) is dismaying because cistron sections of the virus are combined unambiguously, which is non reported before in any swine instances [ 26 ] . This swine virus is efficaciously conveying between worlds and the eruptions in the community degree are seen [ 25 ] . Even the vaccinum developed is non much effectual as earlier and the people are partly protected as H1 viruses are still go arounding.

Calculated informations of WHO and the information from the official beginnings of pandemic Influenza viruses are shown in the tabular array 1. Nationwide information has been taken from Australia, Canada and New Zealand parts [ 31 ] .

Table.1: confirmed instances, deceases and rates of pandemic grippe per 100.000 dwellers, 2009 [ 31 ]

In the recent old ages 2009 and 2010 the activity of the grippe seems to acquire decreased bit by bit during the hebdomad 1 was about 0 % and is clearly explained in the graph ( fig.6 ) [ 32 ] . But in hebdomad 43 i.e. , in 2009 end the trial which are positive to influenza arealmost 55 % .

INFLUENZA Virus Isolated

Fig.6: Reports of the positive trials done in the research labs [ 32 ]

Apart from all these to get the better of this eruption WHO is organizing a surveillance programme to observe new strains which are unsafe at the early minutes. New isolates are submitted for farther analysis. Normally a trivalent vaccinum is used, which consists of: H3N2, H1N1 and a subtype of influenza A. Subtypes used are chiefly antigenic diverse strains [ 24 ] . Even pandemic programs are developed by WHO, most of the European states has prepared aims to alarm medical, scientific groups in order to diminish the mortality and morbidity.

But the immunisation schemes are non developed widely by any state because of two grounds. First, production capacity of the vaccinum for the universe is non adequate to cover the antigenic alterations of the virus. Second, production of vaccinums in big graduated table may ensue in fast antigenic alterations. New scopes of antiviral drugs are developed for the virus by X-Ray crystallography [ 29 ] .


Within three or four yearss most of the people will retrieve from infection. If any symptoms as following observe, intervention is needed: Trouble in breath pickings, Pain in the chest part, lips stain, desiccation, purging. Duration of Flu is shortened by utilizing:

Acetaminophen- gives alleviation for febrility, concern and musculus strivings.

Antiviral drugs like Oseltamivir ( Tami grippe ) , Rimantadine ( Flumadine ) , Amantadine ( Symmetrel ) and Zanamivir ( Relenza ) are approved by FDA and can be used as they cut down the span and badness. First three are taken orally whereas Relenza has to be inhaled.

Recent surveies on mice show that Oseltamivir protects it from the deadly 1918 viral challenge.

Aspirin and besides medical specialties that include acetylsalicylic acids are avoided, as they may do terrible effects.

Zanamivir and Oseltamivir may do side effects like trouble in external respiration and emesis.

Antibiotics are non used except in the instance of bacterial pneumonia and sinusitis.

Other than these many alternate interventions are present like homoeopathy and herb tea. Oscillococcinum is one of the homeopathic redress which can cut down the continuance of the virus [ 17 ] .


Avoiding contact with new and septic people will chiefly forestall flu infection. 500mg consumption of vitamin degree Celsius will besides assist in forestalling grippe by beef uping immune system [ 23 ] . Inoculation is the most of import manner to forestall viral infection. Flu vaccinum can be administered in two signifiers: injection ( Flu-shot: inactivated virus ) and rhinal spray ( made of unrecorded attenuated influenza vaccinum, LIAV ) [ 18 ] . Spray is used for the kids aged 24 months and injection is used for grownups

Seasonal vaccinum for influenza- it is suited for the people above age 50, pregnant, kids and grownups who have chronic conditions.

H1N1 swine grippe vaccine- pregnant adult females, wellness attention workers are sooner vaccinated foremost as they are more susceptible to H1N1 swine grippe. Generally inoculation is done at September of every twelvemonth due to change of degrees in clocking [ 19 ] . H1 vaccinum plants by utilizing neuraminidase and hemagglutinin of 1918 virus. Immunization is done by disputing mice with 100LD50.

Mammalian cells like Vero and MDCK are utilized to bring forth vaccinums by new engineerings [ 29 ] .

But the vaccinums will hold side consequence like tenderness at shooting site.


Influenza has created many black events in 1918, 1957 and 1968. It clearly explains that the opportunity of reoccurrence of the virus is more and vaccinums or anti-virals which are effectual against the virus has to be produced within a short span of clip, as there is a menace coming on in the hereafter. Scientists approach towards the virus seems to be hapless where as molecular virology has reached its upper limit by utilizing rearward genetic sciences. But the information givn by human genome undertaking reveals that about 30,000 cistrons are present in bring forthing acquired and innate unsusceptibility which may guarantee that some sort of protection can be created against viruses. Observations from the threatening viruses inform us to broaden the watchfulness epidemiologically by constructing substructure sing wellness of the populace. Influenza is said to be a arm for the bio war, as it may make black events than First World War and an atomic bomb can. But greatest bioterrorist of our universe is nature and many attempts have to be expanded for public wellness. From a stating of Yogi Berra, “ It is really difficult to do anticipations, specifically about future ” . Many people are still seting their attempts to develop new antivirals, vaccinums which are non merely against seasonal grippe but besides on the possible menace of pandemic grippe. Hopefully in the following twosome of old ages or decennaries virus of grippe are cured.