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Researchers at the University of Melbourne have discovered that some Indigenous groups will be more susceptible to the effects of the new strain of influenza (H7N9) currently found in China.

Researchers at the University of Melbourne have discovered a genetic marker that can accurately predict which patients will experience more severe disease in a new strain of influenza (H7N9) currently found in China.

Researchers from the University of Melbourne and The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) have discovered a new protein that protects against viral infections such as influenza.

Australia well prepared to face swine flu outbreak, says Director of the Nossal Institute for Global Health at the University of Melbourne, Professor Graham Brown

Professor Brown says he is not surprised that the World Health Organisation has called the recent outbreak of swine flu a public health emergency of international concern.

This has been noted as an epidemic of potential concern as the World Health organisation want to act early; because the flu has traveled outside Mexico, there is a risk of it becoming a pandemic, he says.

Professor Brown says there is no current vaccine for swine flu but that it would be possible - now that the genetic sequence is known - for scientists to begin preparing the seed lots and make a vaccine for the future. Yet Professor Brown says this could take a few months.

We do not have immunity to swine flu and we do not expect current influenza vaccines to protect humans against this new strain, but anti-viral drugs should be effective, he says.

Professor Brown says this outbreak will provide Australia with a good opportunity to prepare itself for a pandemic. He says that at times like this, it is more important than ever to remember the simple measures - like washing your hands - needed to prevent the spread of any form of influenza spread.