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More G228S Donor Sequences in H1N1 Swine in Spain
April 10, 2006
The recently released H1N1 swine sequences from Spain in 2003 (A/swine/Spain/51915/2003) and 2004 (A/swine/Spain/53207/2004) contain the same HA donor sequences described previously. Recombination of the Qinghai strain of H5N1 with the European swine H1N1 sequences can create G228S, which has been shown to increase the affinity of HA for human receptors.
Moreover, the H5N1 Qinghai strain contains PB2 sequences from European swine, providing evidence of earlier recombinations between avian influenza in birds and swine. The swine sequences can also appear in human populations, raising additional concerns about recombination between swine, humans, and birds.
H5N1 from Africa will be flying into western Europe in the upcoming days, creating new opportunities for new recombinations. These additional interactions are cause for concern.