View Full Version : Questions about the flu virus

Wesley Clark
11-22-2005, 08:48 AM
How many genes does the flu virus have, what do they encode for and how many base pairs does it have? I have heard 9 genes but that may've been the HIV virus.

Does the flu virus have proofreading enzymes and abilities for when it is forming new flu viruses, or does it not have them and as a result have a high mutation rate?

The flu virus is classified by the neuraminidase and haemagglutinin proteins on its surface (hence terms like H5N1, H1N1, etc) and there are 9 and 16 of these variances, however not all of them can affect man. There are 144 possibilities out of the 9 & 16 surface proteins, but only some can affect man. Why don't they just take the tens of possible influenza viruses that can infect man and make a generalized vaccine that will prevent all forms of the flu? Does each strain have minor differences from the next beyond the general differences in the N & H proteins?

Wesley Clark
11-24-2005, 09:06 PM



Apparently the virus has 8 genes and the HA protein is roughly 560 amino acids. I have read that the H5 protein is about 8-10 amino acids off from being able to be transmissible between humans.