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Confirmed H5 Bird Flu in Novosibirsk Russia

Recombinomics Commentary

July 21, 2005

As many as 200 geese and 100 chickens were killed by the virus in the village of Suzdalka near Novosibirsk, a source in the ministry told the news website.

The presence of H5 bird flu in migrating Russian birds is not a new development.  Genbank has sequences dating back to 2001 and the H5 is associated with several N sero-types.  However, the reassortants signal dual infections, and the earlier versions of H5 in Russia are recombinants with some polymorphisms from Europe and others from eastern Asia.

Hover Novosibirsk is just 400 miles north of Tacheng, the site of a recent H5N1 putbreak that killed domestic geese, which is an unusual outcome for H5 infections.  The Tacheng outbreak was followed by an outbreak in Changji, Xinjiang and that outbreak also resulted in fatal infections in ducks and geese.  Most of the reported migratory bird deaths at Qinghai lake were also geese, so the deaths of 200 geese in Russia strongly suggest a relationship and further spread of H5N1 by migratory birds.

The H5N1 sequences at Qinghai Lake are from reassortants and the isolates are recombinants, acquiring many polymorphisms normally found in European swine.  The acquisition of mammalian polymorphisms was seen in Vuetnam and Thailand and these isolates produce lethal infections in humans.

There are third party reports of H5N1 human infections in Qinghai Lake as well as reports of force quaratine administered by the military.  These reports raise concerns that the failure of China to respond requests from WHO to visit Xinjiang and the withholding of sequences and samples are part of a large cover-up designed to hide or delay release of information on a raging pandemic in China.

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