Influenza, the most variable of known viruses, can produce antigenically unique hybrids by union of two or more unrelated serotypes, a Cornell University investigator has found.
The results of such combinations, like the children of genetically contrasting mates, differ from their parents significantly, said Edwin D. Kilbourne, MD.
Laboratory proof that such matings occur helps explain the sudden influenza mutations that periodically have made existing vaccines obsolete, he told the Fifth Gustav Stern Symposium in New York City.
London scientists, he added, recently have proved that human and avian influenza viruses may combine in vitro. This would be an additional mechanism for extreme mutations.
Improved virological mating and detection techniques now have reached the point where the influence of both parents can be seen in a viral hybrid. Previously, it had been thought that viral unions resulted in a substance immunologically related to only one parent.Antigenic hybrids,