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Human H5N1 Bird Flu in China

Recombinomics Commentary

July 16, 2005

5. H5N1 R12
This is found in xinjiang and guangdong areas. It is spread among poultry and can infect human. However, only minor flu symptoms will be found in human. Non-fatal to both poultry and human, it can be treated with ordinary medications. It is under the R series, where R denotes "red", indicating that human can be infected by it.

6. H5N1 RW4
This is discovered in 2004 and 2005. Human can be infected by in from poultry, and can be fatal to human if not handled properly. Minor h2h ability is found in infected patients. This virus is extremely dangerous to poultry, with a 100% death rate. The incubation period ranges from 2 to 60 days. Eggs of the infected poultry also contain another type virus derived from the H5N1 RW4. Currently, veterinary medications are found to be useless in infected poultry. However, medication used by human, in small dose, can suppress and eliminate the virus in infected birds.

7. H5N1 RK7
First sampled in Qinghai, this is the most powerful strain found so far. This can be transmitted from poultry to human and from human to human. However, this strain of virus is unable to transmit from human to poultry. The diagnosis of this virus is extremely complicated. Incubation period is short and causes of deaths are mainly mis-diagnosis.

There are still 3 strains of H5N1 under research; they are named as the X series.

8. H5N1 X1
Sampled in 2004 from human influenza virus, can infect poultry,

9. H5N1 X2
Sampled in qinghai, continuously mutating, a derivative of H5N1 RW4, current medications are not too effective against this strain.

10.  H5N1 X3
Sampled in qinghai, hunan and ningxia, recombination occurred after patients infected by H5N1 RK7 as well as other infectious diseases. This can be transmitted from poultry to human and human to poultry.

Above is a translation of the boxun report describing the H5N1 isolates in China that are associated with human infections.  The H5N1s are genetically diverse and rapidly evolving via recombination between H5N1s as well as other viruses from human dual infections.

The changes are being driven by recombination and the various H5N1 versions are spreading throughout China and beyond.  The human infections have been denied by China, but so have widespread 2005 H5N1 bird infections, but the recent Nature paper on Qinghai isolates describes 2005 isolates from live markets in Fujian, Hunnan, Yunan, and Guangdong provinces (Shantou in Guangdong).

As noted above, RK7 is the most powerful and it is clearly the H5N1 found in at least five migratory bird species at Qinghai Lake Nature Reserve.  Sequences from bar head geese, greater black headed gulls, and brown headed gulls were virtually identical.  Although the sequences have not yet been made public, all 8 isolates have the PB2 polymorphism E627K, which is found in all human flu isolates and is virtually absent from bird isolates (the two H5N1 isolates with E627K were from mouse brains).

The H5N1 from Qinghai can kill laboratory chickens in 20 hours and lab mice in 3 days.  As noted above and in additional boxun reports, it can passes from human-to-human with a short incubation period and an easily mis-diagnosed clinical presentation.

These documents reveal a diverse gene pool of H5N1, which is rapidly evolving via recombination.  Human isolates from China have not been deposited or even acknowledge by China.

Clearly this is a major catastrophe that is evolving in China and will soon be exported worldwide.

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