Progress in identifying virulence determinants of the 1918 H1N1 and the Southeast Asian H5N1 influenza A viruses

Christopher F. Basler, Patricia Aguilar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

84 Scopus citations


The 1918 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus and the recently emerged Southeast Asian H5N1 avian influenza virus are unique among influenza A virus isolates in their high virulence for humans and their lethality for a variety of animal species without prior adaptation. Reverse genetic studies have implicated several viral genes as virulence determinants. For both the 1918 and H5N1 viruses, the hemagglutinin and the polymerase complex contribute to high virulence. Non-structural proteins NS1 and PB1-F2, which block host antiviral responses, also influence pathogenesis. Additionally, recent studies correlate high levels of viral replication and induction of strong proinflammatory responses with the high virulence of these viruses. Defining how individual viral proteins promote enhanced replication, inflammation and severe disease will provide insight into the pathogenesis of severe influenza virus infections and suggest novel therapeutic approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-178
Number of pages13
JournalAntiviral Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes



  • 1918
  • Antiviral therapy
  • Avian influenza
  • H5N1
  • Influenza virus
  • Pandemic
  • Pathogenesis
  • Virulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Pharmacology

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