By now, you’re probably sick of hearing about the 2009 H1N1 flu, also known as the swine flu. But if you believe you’ve had it, and you’ve already recovered from your symptoms, please take a few minutes to complete our new survey.
There have been heard reports of people holding “swine flu parties” in hopes of getting the “mild form” of the H1N1 virus. But there’s really only one H1N1 virus out there. Any variability has to do with how people’s bodies are reacting to it. (BTW: The CDC says this is one kind of party you definitely want to skip!)
Some who’ve been infected with H1N1 have suffered from nothing more than a few miserable days stuck in bed. For others, the virus has caused severe illness resulting in hospitalization and even death. Some of these differences have to do with age, gender and pre-existing disease burden.
But there are probably genetic factors at work too. A study published just today shows that human cells have proteins that seem to be natural flu fighters. The researchers who made this discovery suggest that genetic changes that affect the levels of these proteins could determine different levels of vulnerability to the H1N1 virus.
By asking our large and diverse group of customers about their experiences with the flu, and then correlating this information with their genetics, 23andMe hopes to help scientists continue to unravel the mysteries of H1N1. Genetic markers indicating a propensity for an especially severe reaction to the flu could someday be used to identify people in need of extra attention during outbreaks. And learning more about the flu in general might lead to new management strategies that could benefit us all. So please, take a few minutes to answer our H1N1 Survey.
P.S. If you don’t think you’ve had the swine flu this year, don’t worry — there are plenty of other surveys for you to take. You can always participate in this new survey if you do happen to get sick (though we hope you don’t!).