News-S | 04/07/2020 05:35 PM | Click to read full article
Influenza viruses infect respiratory cells by binding to a specific receptor on the cells' surface. Humans and birds have different versions of this receptor, which means avian flu viruses bind poorly to human cells. This is why infectivity in humans is low. However, flu viruses can readily exchange segments of their genetic material if two different viruses infect the same cell.
This can create novel flu viruses with combined characteristics of their parents. And it's pigs that may make this possible.