[Much like a virus, this story is evolving; the information below does not claim to be conclusive, but we thought it would be refreshing to add a note of science and sanity to the generally overheated coverage. --Ed.]

From Prof Tara C Smith at Aetiology

Back in 2007, I wrote about an outbreak of swine influenza from an Ohio county fair. The peer-reviewed paper analyzing the swine influenza isolated from that outbreak has just recently come out. From the abstract:

The swine isolate, A/SW/OH/511445/2007 (OH07), was evaluated in an experimental challenge and transmission study reported here. ....

Meanwhile, I mentioned yesterday that gene sequences from the new H1N1 virus had been released. Sandy has taken a look at some of these, and compared them with H1N1 and H1N2 viruses from humans and pigs.

Yes, there is a point to the juxtaposition of these two points, and it's big--after the jump...

According to her analyses, the Ohio pig isolates are the most closely related to the new Texas and California human isolates.

Does this mean the virus came from these Ohio pigs? *Well, no, not necessarily*. [snip]

I also assume this is where the human-avian-swine reassortant claim came from. The authors note that:

The H1N1 viruses contain the HA and NA from the classical swine virus and the internal genes from the triple reassortant H3N2 viruses (rH1N1); the H1N2 viruses contain the HA from the classical swine virus and the NA and internal genes from the triple reassortant H3N2 viruses (Karasin et al., 2002; Webby et al., 2004). Contemporary triple reassortant viruses were demonstrated to have acquired a PB1 gene of human virus origin; PA and PB2 genes of avian virus origin; and the remaining internal genes, M, NS, and NP, of swine virus origin, thus giving rise to the triple reassortant designation (Zhou et al., 1999).

So what it looks like to me is that this isn't a *new* reassortant virus, but is closely related to one that had already been identified in swine--and that had already caused an outbreak in humans right here in the US.

I'll have more about this tomorrow...this is pretty huge and I'm still digesting it all.

Rep Eric Massa and so many of Lou Dobbs' followers have been falling all over themselves to seal the border with Mexico. . . against a virus most closely related to the 2007 Ohio country fair virus.

For his next trick, will Massa call for Minutemen on the Erie Canal?