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US HHS Approves Emergency H7N9 Diagnostics
Recombinomics Commentary 21:15
April 30, 2013

On April 19, 2013, the Secretary determined that there is a significant potential for a public health emergency that has a significant potential to affect national security or the health and security of United States citizens living abroad and that involves the avian influenza A (H7N9) virus.
The above comments are from the US Health and Human Service (HHS) notice entitled “Determination and Declaration Regarding Emergency Use of in Vitro Diagnostics for Detection of the Avian Influenza A (H7N9) Virus”.  The notice allows use of an unapproved diagnostic test for the detection of H7N9 bird flu.
Although WHO has cited a lack of evidence for efficient human to human transmission of H7N9, the sequence data provides compelling evidence for sustained transmission in Jiangsu Province (see map), which is further supported by the export of H7N9 from Jiangsu Province to Taiwan via a traveler using a commercial airline.  The export of H7N9 suggests the levels of H7N9 infections are markedly higher than the lab confirmed cases, which relies on an insensitive assay which has produced an alarming number of false negatives, when samples from the upper respiratory tract are used.

The emergency notice by the US HHS provides addition evidence for efficient human H7N9 transmission, WHO denials notwithstanding.

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