New cattle virus officially named influenza D

New York: A new influenza virus that affects cattle has an official name — influenza D, as proposed by South Dakota State University researchers — including one of Indian origin — who discovered it. The executive committee of the International Committee of Taxonomy of Viruses approved naming the new virus influenza D, Professor Feng Li said in a university statement on Thursday. It was named Influenza D virus because of its distinctness from other influenza types — A, B and C. Though South Dakota State University alumnus Ben Hause isolated the virus from a diseased pig in 2011, he later found that cattle were the primary reservoir for influenza D.
Hause identified and characterised the new virus as part of his doctoral research under Li’s tutelage. This is the first influenza virus identified in cattle, Li explained.  Li and Professor Radhey Shyam Kaushik secured a US National Institutes of Health grant for nearly $400,000 to study the biology, genetics and evolution of the new virus.Ultimately, the goal is to determine whether influenza D, which has 50 per cent similarity to human influenza C, can cause problems in humans, according to Kaushik.

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