Public Health Agency of Canada

Public Health Agency of Canada

May 06, 2009 13:16 ET

Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg First in World to Decode Genetic Makeup of H1N1 Flu Virus

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 6, 2009) - Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. David Butler-Jones today announced that Canadian scientists have completed work on decoding the genetic makeup of the H1N1 flu virus.

"The world's knowledge of the H1N1 flu virus has taken a significant step forward thanks to the excellent work done at Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory," said Minister Aglukkaq.

"This is an important achievement for our scientists as it marks the first successful sequencing of virus samples from different countries," said Dr. David Butler-Jones, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada. "Our researchers should be commended for completing this important work in less than a week. This is one of the Lab's finest hours."

Genetic sequencing is the process of determining the order of the molecules that make up the DNA in each gene of an organism. This complete genetic blueprint provides important information for researchers studying the virus.

The laboratory completed sequencing of H1N1 virus samples taken from Mexico, Nova Scotia and Ontario.

"This takes us a big step forward in understanding how this virus works," said Dr. Plummer. "Our preliminary analysis does not indicate a significant difference between the virus in Mexico and the virus in Canada."

Canada's work on the virus has been submitted to GenBank - an international, searchable database - to allow more researchers to have access to the results and benefit from the information.

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