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New genetic sequencing techniques used to study the H1N1 virus


Narrator:       
This is Science Today. Earlier this year, the World Health Organization announced that a pandemic of novel H1N1 virus, or ‘swine flu', was underway. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco are teaming up with a global health care company to gain better insight into the H1N1 virus through genetic sequencing.

Chiu:               We're applying some new technology, it's what we referred to as high-throughput sequencing. What we want to do is collect clinical samples over time and over space to be able to understand exactly how the virus is evolving with time.

Narrator:        Charles Chiu, director of UCSF's Viral Diagnostics and Discovery Center, says by understanding the entire genome of these 2009 H1N1 strains, they can determine the capacity for resistance or if it can become more virulent.

Chiu:   Knowing this information can help guide public health efforts in determining where should we place our priorities, as well as how rapidly do we need to implement a vaccine or other preventive efforts for preventing the worsening of this current pandemic.

Narrator:        For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.