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H7N9 Q226L Spread In Poultry and Humans
Recombinomics Commentary 08:00
April 28, 2013

China Animal Health and Epidemiology Center at Qingdao has released H7 goose and chicken sequences (at GISAID), A/goose/Jiangsu/K27/2013 and A/chicken/Jiangsu/K89/2013, from April 1 collections and are commended for the prompt release of these sequences. 

Prior to the release of these sequences, the prevalence of Q226L in avian sequences was unclear.  Although Q226L was in the first three avian H7 sequences (
A/Pigeon/Shanghai/S1069/2013, A/Chicken/Shanghai/S1053/2013, A/Environment/Shanghai/S1088/2013), it was not present in the avian isolate from Zhejiang, A/chicken/Zhejiang/DTID-ZJU01/2013.  Similarly, it also was not present in the first H7N9 bird flu case in Shanghai, A/Shanghai/1/2013.
However, the above two sequences increase the number of avian isolates with Q226L to six (out of seven) and the latest human sequences increase the number to seven (out of ten). In addition to A/Shanghai/1/2013, which was wild type at position 226, A/Hangzhou/1/2013 and A/Jiangsu/1/2013 had L226I, (see map) a receptor binding domain change that signals clonal expansion and human to human transmission.

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