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Antigenic Drift In Influenza Virus Infection

The influenza virus is a single-stranded RNA virus, bound by a nucleoprotein.
This nucleoprotein determines the type of the virus whether it is virus type A, B or C.
The spherical surface of the virus is a lipid bilayer containing the viral antigens. The viral antigens are "hemagglutinin and "neuraminidase". These two antigens determine the subtype of virus that is H1N1, H3N2 etc.(H stands for Hemagglutinin and N stands for Neuraminidase).
When an individual gets an infection of Influenza virus, antibodies are formed against the neuraminidase and hemagglutinin antigens, which prevent future infections with the same subtype of influenza virus.

But recurrent infection occurs through mutations of hemagglutinin and neuraminidase antigens that allow the virus to escape from the host antibodies, this phenomenon is called antigenic drift.

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