Researchers at MIT are suggesting that the strain of the swine flu virus endemic to India has mutated into a more dangerous strain. India's most recent outbreak of the swine flu has claimed over 1,500 lives, an unprecedented number in recent cycles of the disease. The outbreak began in December and has infected at least 20,000 across the country. Though Indian health officials have indicated that the pathogen in this outbreak is still H1N1, subtle mutations may have made the disease more insidious still.
Samples from affected patients were analyzed at MIT, who also assessed flu databases in order to draw epidemiological conclusions. Interestingly, scientists in India have not yet corroborated the finding that the Indian strain is a mutated form of the swine flu, as reported by Narendra Saini, the secretary general of the Indian Medical Association. Instead they suggest that a mixture of strains are responsible for the outbreak and that preventative cultural measures against transmission of the disease is the best tack to take.