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H7N9 Zhejiang Chicken Sequence
Recombinomics Commentary 14:00
April 20, 2013

State Key Laboratory of Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases at The First Affiliated Hospital, College of Medicine, Zhejiang University has released full H7N9 sequences of an April collection from a chicken in Zhejiang Province, A/chicken/Zhejiang/DTID-ZJU01/2013, and are to be commended for the rapid release of this critical H7N9 bird flu sequences. 

All eight gene segments are closely related to the 5 recent human H7N9 sequences,
(A/Shanghai/1/2013, A/Shanghai/2/2013, A/Anhui/1/2013,  A/Hangzhou/1/2013, and A/Zhejiang/DTID-ZJU01/2013), as well as the three recent avian sequences (A/Pigeon/Shanghai/S1069/2013, A/Chicken/Shanghai/S1053/2013, A/Environment/Shanghai/S1088/2013).

However, the H7 sequence is wild type at position 226 (which was also seen in A/Shanghai/1/2013), in contrast to the earlier avian sequences, which had Q226L.  These earlier sequences were collected over a two day window from live markets in the Shanghai,  Minhang District or the adjacent district, Songjiang (see map).  Three of the human sequences also had Q226L, while as noted above, one was wild type, while the other,
A/Hangzhou/1/2013, evolved the L at position 226 to I (L226I).

The detection of wild type position 226 in the Zhejiang sequence suggests the Q226L in the avian sequences represent a recent acquisition and may have been linked to the cluster of human cases at the Fifth Peoples Hospital in the Minhang district.

The PB2 sequence of the Zhejiang sequence was also wild type at postions 627 and 701, which was also true for the earlier H7N9 avian sequences, in contrast to the five human PB2 sequences which either had E627K or D701N, signaling rapid and recent H7N9 adaptation for human transmission.

These new Zhejiang sequences highlight the need for more avain and human H7N9 sequences, including those from Hangzhou, Zheijiang, where most of the recent human cases have resided.

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