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Home Industry News Swine flu may have been leaked from laboratory

Swine flu may have been leaked from laboratory

30th June 2009

The Swine flu H1N1 influenza A may have been leaked from a laboratory, according to reports.

The Telegraph reports the flu may not have circulated if it hadn’t been for a possible leak, suggested to be somewhere in Asia or the Soviet Union around 1977.

There are currently 5,937 confirmed cases of swine flu in the UK alone.

In a New England Journal of Medicine report out today, there are suggestions H1N1 may have re-emerged by accident. There were no recorded cases of human-to-human transfer for 20 years from 1957, when it began to circulate in China, Hong Kong and the USSR.

In the study, by Dr Shanta Zimmer and Dr Donald Burke at the University of Pittsburgh, they said: “Careful study of the genetic origin of the virus showed that it was closely related to a 1950 strain but dissimilar to influenza A (H1N1) strains from both 1947 and 1957.

“This finding suggested that the 1977 outbreak strain had been preserved since 1950. The re-emergence was probably an accidental release from a laboratory source in the setting of waning population immunity to H1 and N1 antigens.”

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