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Ukraine Dead Approach 400 - D225G Spreads
Recombinomics Commentary 23:30
November 24, 2009

1,679,237 Influenza/ARI

99,661 Hospitalized

397 Dead

The above figures from the latest daily update from the Ukraine Ministry of Health support a decline in the rate of increases of cases and deaths, but the total is now almost 400 fatalities (see map).  The spread was likely slowed by the country-wide closing of schools along with warmer weather.  However, it is likely that the virus will return as temperatures drop and the traditional flu season begins, although it is unclear if seasonal flu will be in circulation in 2010.

The receptor binding domain change, D225G, was in four of four sequence from fatal cases, raising concerns that the 2,3 alpha specificity of D225G drove the H1N1 to the lungs and the total destruction.  Three patients in Norway were said to also have D225G, and two of the three died while the third had been in serious condition.  25 HA sequences from Norway were deposited at Genbank, but only one had D225G, and it was a mixture.  In Brazil both patients with D225G in lung samples had died, and the case in China had been in serious condition.

However, the severity of the infection may be related to the ratio of sequences with and without D255G, as well as viral load, because milder cases involving D225G have also been reported in the United States and Hong Kong.

More detail on additional cases, including sequences from upper and lower respiratory tract from the same patient would be useful.

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