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Flu shots

Michael Poidinger mikep at uniwa.uwa.edu.au
Thu Oct 27 17:46:36 EST 1994

In article <garys.153.00131BA2 at ksc.com> garys at ksc.com (Gary F. Stevens) writes:
>From: garys at ksc.com (Gary F. Stevens)
>Subject: Flu shots
>Date: Sat, 22 Oct 1994 19:06:20

>I just had a strange thought....

>Is it possible for the DNA in a flu shot to combine with a non 
>virulent virus causing it to become virulent? 

>I remember Griffith showing this can happen with bacteria and 
>became curious about transduction or transfection in viruses...

>Any comments? (I ask this after getting a flu shot today...)


It is absolutely and completely impossible.  Mostly because flu is an RNA 
virus, and has no DNA :)

Seriously though, one of the main ways in which new and virulent flu viruses 
form is when two different strains infect one animal (usually chickens and 
pigs in places where chickens and pigs are kept together alot eg China) and a 
recombinant strain is formed.  The recombination is very different from other 
recombination events. flu viruses have a number of separate segments of RNA, 
and the recombinant is formed by the packaging some segments from one strain 
and other segments from another.

It also depends on whether your vaccine is a 'live' or 'dead' vaccine.  I do 
not know which is used in flu shots, but I would guess it's dead virus and 
therefore would be unable to recombine with anything.


Dr Mike Poidinger  | Hey Christian God, get out of my face
Microbiology          | Your holy ghost is a curse on the human race        
UWA, Australia	     | I'd like to string you up one more time,                 
                               | No stupid sacrament, no pissy wine (Snog)
mikep at uniwa.uwa.edu.au

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