Essay heading: 1 INFLUENZA

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Science

 

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November 27, 1996

 

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4 / 1069

 

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This is called antigenic "drift." This process allows the virus to make a more stable change yet still evade the immune system. The second type of change is an abrupt change in the hemagglutinin and/or the neuraminidase proteins. This is called antigenic "shift." It isn't as stable of a change but if it does make a successful and complete mutation it can become so deadly that another pandemic...
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Although Type A viruses undergo both types of changes, Type B only go through the more gradual Type B. Antigenic shift occurs only occasionally, but when it does large numbers of people or even entire populations have no antibody against the virus. Although this is potentially lethal, the virus can only start a pandemic if it is able to be spread easily...
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