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New virus "very unstable," more changes seen: expert
Tue May 12, 2009 8:56am EDT
HONG KONG (Reuters) - A leading virologist has described the new H1N1 influenza virus as "very unstable," meaning it could mix and swap genetic material when exposed to other viruses.
The new virus, which has infected 5,251 people in 30 countries and killed 61, has displayed great efficiency in spreading among people, said Guan Yi, a microbiologist with the University of Hong Kong.
"This virus has been around only a few months, it is very unstable ... and we know that its presence is dramatically increasing in human population, so the chance of it meeting with H5N1 is actually increased," Guan said in an interview on Tuesday.