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Human H5N1 Bird Flu in China Migrates to Malaysia and Laos

Recombinomics Commentary
April 4, 2006

China has recently released H5N1 HA sequences from human cases.  These three isolates, from patients in Anhui and Guangxi were similar to a duck sequence from Fujian province (see below).  Hong Kong University has released 2006 H5N1 sequences from Laos and Malaysia, and those isolates are also closely related to the duck sequence from Fujian province.  A characteristic sequence (A/G495C, A/T496G, T497C) were present in the human isolates from China as well as the 2006 isolates from Laos and Malyasia.

These sequences suggest that the H5N1 sequences capable of infecting humans has migrated down to Laos and Malaysia, raising concerns of human cases in those two countries as well as additional provinces in China.

HKU (Yi Guan and Malik Peiris) are to be congratulated for releasing the 2006 sequences prior to publication.

These sequences highlight the importance of a full and up to date database and also point toward the rapid evolution of H5N1 and its growing geographical reach.  The recombination of these sequences with clade 1 H5N1 in Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia is cause for additional concern.

A/G495C A/T496G T497C

  ISDN138756  A/chicken/Malaysia/935/2006    2006  H5N1   
  ISDN138780  A/duck/Laos/3295/2006             2006  H5N1   
  DQ371928    A/Anhui/1/2005                              2005  H5N1   
  DQ371929    A/Anhui/2/2005                              2005  H5N1   
  DQ095629    A/Duck/Fujian/1734/05                 2005  H5N1   
  DQ371930    A/Guangxi/1/2005                          2005  H5N1  

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