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flu haemagglutinin
Flu haemagglutinin protein ribbon diagram

Week 1 in retrospect

In this first week, we’ve covered a lot of ground.

We began with the history of influenza, the origins of the pandemics of the last 100 years and how they became annual seasonal flu visitors. We’ve identified the main subtypes that infect humans.

We’ve also seen how influenza is basically a disease of avian origin, which can jump over into other species as a result of reassortment events, which are shufflings of the influenza genome segments that occur when an organism (of whatever species) is infected by more than one strain simultaneously.

As well as these topics of clinical importance, we’ve also looked at some of the basic biology of influenza, seeing how strange viruses are, how their parasitic life cycle operates and how their encounter with our immune systems creates some of the flu’s familiar symptoms.

Coming up next week: epidemiology, vaccination, treatment and other flu-like viruses.

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This article is from the free online course:

Influenza: How the Flu Spreads and Evolves

Lancaster University