Flu mutations in a single cell help to predict immune response

Genetic diversity of the virus may explain variability in how well a cell fights back.

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The influenza virus mutates constantly, and work published this month on bioRxiv reveals that this viral volatility can affect whether, and how, a host cell responds to infection.

Genetic sequencing over the past decade has revealed that RNA viruses such as influenza don’t churn out billions of identical copies of their own genomes. Instead, the cells that the virus hijacks produce a messy swarm of viral offspring that carry small genetic errors. Those minor variations can add up as the viruses keep replicating. New mutations could affect how well a virus spreads to other people or how well a person's immune cells respond.

By Carrie Arnold

Source: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-07190-7

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