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In a new study appearing in Science, NIAID grantees at The Scripps Research Institute found that avian H7N9 flu is not well adapted for sustained transmission between humans. This suggests that the current form of the virus is unlikely to cause a pandemic.
The researchers used X-ray crystallography to study the 3-D structures of proteins on the surface of the flu virus and their interaction with human cells. Their results showed that the H7N9 surface proteins attached weakly to human receptors, allowing the virus to be transmitted, but only sporadically and inefficiently.
For more information on the study methods and findings, see the NIAID media availability at: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/