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H5N1 Wild Bird Flu in Mongolia Similar to Russia and China

Recombinomics Commentary

November 18, 2005

H5N1 wild bird sequences from Mongolia (A/bar-headed goose/Mongolia/1/05(H5N1), A/whooper swan/Mongolia/3/05(H5N1), A/whooper swan/Mongolia/4/05(H5N1), A/whooper swan/Mongolia/6/05(H5N1)) were released by GenBank today.  Full or partial sequences from all eight genes were included and the data left little doubt that the Mongolian sequences were closely related to the wild bird sequences from Qinghai Lake and Novosibirsk.  The NA sequences were virtually identical.  HA sequences were closely related, although the Mongolian sequences were somewhat closer to the Novosibirsk sequences. 

In PB2, like the Russian sequences, thee was one of the three polymorphisms shared with European swine.  Like all of the prior H5N1 wild bird flu published this year all sequences had the E627K polymorphism, which prior to the Qinghai Lake isolates had never been reported in an avian H5N1 isolate.

Similarly, the M2 sequences was wild type, matching the Qinghai and Novosibisk sequences which lacked the amantadine resistance markers indicating that the H5N1 in wild birds would be amantadine sensitive.

The data left little doubt that HPAI H5N1 was being transmitted and transported by long range migratory birds.  There were minor differences between the whooper swan and bar headed geese sequences, but overall the sequences were over 99% homologous.


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