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The Export of a H5N1 Bird Flu Pandemic By China

Recombinomics Commentary

July 31, 2005

Dick Thompson, a spokesman for the World Health Organization in Geneva, said, "We would hope that these samples would be sent to a WHO international reference lab outside the country. This is standard for verification."

"To confirm that it is H5N1, it is important that these tests are done outside the country,"

It important to sequence the H5N1 isolates from Russia.  At this point, confirmation is a mere formality.  Although it took over a week to determine the subtype of N, the death of the ducks and geese died and the H5 subtype, indicated that the outbreaks in Novosibirsk were related to the H5N1 outbreaks in Qinghai and Xinjiang provinces in China.  All three outbreaks had been linked to migratory birds, killed ducks and geese, and were H5N1 confirmed.

The export of H5N1 from Qinghai Lake has now almost certainly included Kazakhstan.  Geese also died and a poultry worker is in critical condition with bird flu symptoms.  Tests results will almost certainly indicate H5N1 was involved.  If not, there is probably a problem with the test.

The sequences fro Qinghai Lake were clearly cause for concern.  They had mammalian sequences and were mixtures of sequences from Europe and Asia.  There were also regions of homology with earlier H5 isolates from Russia (Chany Lake and Primorie).  The earlier isolates however did not have the HPAI cleavage site and did not kill migratory birds.

In contrast, the isolates from Qinghai Lake were quite lethal.  Over 6000 birds had died, most of which were migratory geese, which are normally resistant to H5N1.

The unanswered question about the Qinghai Lakes isolates was transmissibility to humans.  Reported cases had been limited to four countries in southeast Asia, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and Indonesia.  HPAI H5N1 had not been previously reported in Russia or Kazakhstan, so the dead geese signaled a major change, which was reflected in the sequences form China.

Boxun reports had indicated that there were human cases associated with the Qinghai isolates.  Reports detailed 10 strains of H5N1, most of which could infect humans.  However, the isolate from Qinghai Lake, RK-7 was considered the most lethal.  Experimental data on the Qinghai isolates confirmed that it was lethal in chickens and mice and all isolates had the E627K polymorphism in PB2 associated with increased virulence in mice and fatal infections in humans.

Boxun reports also described fatal infections in humans near Qinghai Lake.  Initial reports cited 121 deaths.  Reports on death benefit claims suggested the number was over 700.  There were also reports of the military enforcing forced quarantines and arrests of reporters.  China also issued new regulations limiting the sharing of sequences and samples and closed down the Shantou lab that contributed to the sequencing of all 12 Qinghai Lake isolates as well as 8 additional 2005 isolates from eastern China.

Prior to May 21, China did not report any H5N1 outbreaks in 2005.  Moreover, they have still not reported any infections outside of Qingahi and Xinjiang provinces.  They have not given permission to WHO to visit Xinjiang and have not provided samples or sequences of isolates from live birds at Qinghai Lake.

The suspect bird flu case in Kazakhstan, just across the border from the confirmed outbreaks near Chany Lake in Novosibirsk, casts additional doubt on China's claims of now human cases in H5N1. Boxun reports suggest there is a raging pandemic in China, which is being covered up.

Most countries have little incentive to report H5N1 cases.  India claims to have never had H5N1 in poultry of people, although, poultry workers in India have H5N1 antibodies.  Thailand claims to have had no H5N1 cases in 2005 although the H5N1 isolated from birds closely matches the H5N1 in northern Vietnam isolated from patients.  Indonesia claim their H5N1 infections in 2003 were due to New Castle Disease and the H5N1 in a Jakarta suburban family was a fatal bacterial infection.

China has denied any human cases of H5N1, including the large number of cases reported by Boxun in Qinghai and the pneumonia isolation wards in Tacheng, Xinjiang.

The sequences of isolates from Qinghai Lake are public and the H5N1 infected birds are beginning to migrate to Europe, India, Bangladesh, Tibet, eastern China, and southeast Asia. The exported H5N1 will be reported as dead birds and people begin to accumulate, and the sequences from the fatal infections will point to China and its massive cover-up.

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