With the prospect of another pandemic Influenza fresh in our consciousness, the pathogenic nature of the Influenza A virus and its ability to induce high rates of mortality are ever more pertinent. Recently a novel protein encoded by an alternate reading frame in the PB1 Gene segment of Influenza A virus has been discovered and in turn shown to enhance viral virulence in a mouse model 1. This protein has been shown to specifically target and destroy alveolar macrophages 2. This review suggests that this protein, present in all previous pandemic strains, may reappear as a virulence factor in a subsequent pandemic strain. This PB1-F2 protein will enhance the mortality rate of the virus by increasing the likelihood of a secondary bacterial infection, which is the primary cause of death to a patient infected with Influenza A.
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