2 Flu Strains Could Be Extinct
As far as sickness and infectious diseases are concerned, the past 15 or so months probably couldn't have gone worse for society than they did. Fortunately, the administering of vaccines to fight COVID-19 have been a massive help in the past few weeks. Now it appears the news is getting even better with reports that some flu strains might have gone extinct during the pandemic.
Social distancing practices, office and school closures, travel restrictions and mask wearing all might have helped both a version of the H3N2 flu strain and the B/Yamagata form of influenza B go extinct, reports STAT.
Neither B/Yamagata or the 3c3.A variety of H3N2 have been uploaded to an international database that is used to monitor how the flu virus evolves since March 2020, Trevor Bedford, a computational biologist at a cancer research center in Seattle, told STAT. The viral sequences haven't been added to that database because neither has been spotted out in the wild.
Experts told STAT that the absence of certain flu strains could make it easier for their community to select what viruses should be included in the two flu vaccines they pick each year: the first for the Southern Hemisphere and the second for the Northern Hemisphere.
While the present absence of B/Yamagata and the 3c3.A variety of H3N2 is great, experts are careful to rule out the possibility that they could still be lingering somewhere.
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