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All Three H7N9 China Cases Have PB2 E627K
Recombinomics Commentary 23:45
March 31, 2013

Three cases of human infection with H7N9 avian influenza have been detected recently in Shanghai and Anhui Province, and two of them have died, the other being in a critical condition, the National Health and Family Planning Commission said Sunday.

The victims include an 87-year-old male in Shanghai who got sick on Feb. 19 and died on March 4, a 27-year-old male in Shanghai who became ill on Feb. 27 and died on March 10, and a 35-year-old female in Chuzhou City of Anhui who became ill on March 9 and is now in a critical condition.
The above comments describe three severe H7N9 confirmed cases (2 fatal) in China.  The serotype has never been reported in humans previously although other H7 infections have been reported, including the only prior fatal bird flu case which was not H5N1. That H7N7 case was a veterinarian linked to the 2003 outbreak in The Netherlands.  The PB2 from that case had E627K, which is linked to increased virulence in mice as well as the ability to grow at 33 C.  It was also added to the H5N1 A/Indonesia/5/2003 used in ferret transmission studies.

The WHO Chinese National Influenza Center in Beijing has released a full set of sequences (at GISAID) for all three of the H7N9 cases (A/Shanghai/1/2013, A/Shanghai/2/2013, A/Anhui/1/2013) and they are to be commended for the rapid release of these important sequences. 
All three cases had PB2 E627K, which is cause for concern.

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