Genetic study reveals H7N9 has pandemic potential

As MO went to press, at least 60 people had been infected by the virus in China and 13 had died. No cases of human-to-human transmission had been reported.

“The human isolates, but not the avian and environmental ones, have a protein mutation that allows for efficient growth in human cells and that also allows them to grow at a temperature that corresponds to the upper respiratory tract of humans, which is lower than you find in birds,” the Japanese and US researchers said.

Eurosurveillance 2013; online 12 April