A study published in the journal Nature revealed that flu develops in the roof of the mouth and spreads through coughs and sneezes.
Based on their findings, the soft palate, which separates the back of the mouth and the nasal cavity, plays a crucial in the influenza virus’ ability to travel from one person to another.
Scientists discovered that the inflammation associated with infection in the soft palate causes coughing and sneezing. These actions actually propel the virus out of the mouth enabling it to spread easily.
Scientists discovered that flu spreads through sneezes and coughs.
The research team carried out the study on ferrets, which are widely used as a model of human influenza infection since they have similar mouth structures to humans. The scientists continued studying the flu strain responsible for the 2009 influenza pandemic. They engineered a virus to infect a group of ferrets to analyse how it spread.
The recent study revealed that flu develops in the roof of the mouth.
“It really provides us with a handle to very systematically look at any evolving pandemic viruses from the point of view of their ability to gain airborne transmissibility through binding to these 2-6 glycan receptors,” said Ram Sasisekharan, one of the study authors.
The patch of mucous-coated soft tissue is a key site for the emergence of flu viruses.
The results of the new study could help scientists determine which viruses are more likely to cause a pandemic.
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