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On the Radar

This post has been updated to reflect that the flu virus is an RNA, not DNA, virus.

Flu researchers are examining the genes of the new bird flu strain that has sickened a handful of people in China, Reuters reports. The new flu strain, H7N9, has infected nine people in China, killing three of them. While Reuters notes that the flu does not appear to be able to pass from person to person, flu researchers are examining its genes, obtained from patient samples, to gauge its potential as a threat. The flu virus is an RNA virus.

"The virus has to a certain extent already adapted to mammalian species and to humans, so from that point of view it's worrisome," Ab Osterhaus, from the Erasmus Medical Centre in The Netherlands, tells Reuters. "Really we should keep a very close eye on this."