Yesterday, in contrast to recent government denials (see No mutation of H1N1), we looked at an analysis by MIT: Genetic Changes In A 2014 Indian H1N1pdm09 Virus, that the authors offered as an possible explanation for the reportedly severe H1N1 season India is experiencing this winter (see press release Analysis suggests a more virulent swine flu virus in the Indian subcontinent).
Today, media reports are carrying denials by India’s National Institute of Virology in Pune.
This debate could be quickly settled were India to sequence, and make available, a comprehensive and representative sampling of recent flu isolates. But according to the MIT article, only two samples have been deposited over the past year, and one of those was the subject of their analysis.
New Delhi, March 12 (IANS): The National Institute of Virology on Thursday said there was no evidence to suggest that the swine flu virus in India may have mutated.
A study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) conducted by a team of Indian-origin scientists said swine flu has killed over 1,500 people and infected more than 27,000 people in India and the virus has acquired mutations that make it more dangerous than previously circulating strains of H1N1 influenza.
The flu virus in India seems to have acquired mutations that could spread more readily, the MIT scientists warned in the study.
Official sources at the NIV in Pune said the genetic analysis of the H1N1 isolates from the present 2015 outbreak do not show any such mutations as mentioned in the MIT publication.
The observation in the MIT report was based on gene sequence analysed for the H1N1 virus taken from a database and not from actual virus isolates from the current 2015 outbreak, the NIV sources said.