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Recombinomics Inc. Urges Release of H5N1 Avian Flu Sequences from the World Health Organization's (WHO) Private Database

PITTSBURGH, PA Mar. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Recombinomics fully supports the appeal by Dr. Llaria Capua of the OIE/FAO Reference Laboratory for Avian Influenza at the Istituto Zooprofilattica Sperimentale delle Venezie in Padova, Italy to allow influenza researchers worldwide open access to H5N1 sequences collected by the WHO.  Currently, most of the recently collected H5N1 gene sequences are sequestered in a private, WHO controlled database, which can only be accessed by 15 laboratories.  These sequences should be made available immediately to the general scientific community.  The sequences are essential in pandemic vaccine development and should be accessible to all.

This week the United States government announced a new pandemic vaccine target, the H5N1 sequence from a patient in Indonesia.  Although available sequences indicate several pandemic vaccine targets would be desirable, the utility of the chosen sequence cannot be independently evaluated because none of the H5N1 sequences from human patients in Indonesia are publicly available.  Similarly, no sequences from confirmed H5N1 positive human patients in Turkey, Iraq, and China are available outside of the private WHO database.  Considering the hundreds of millions that will likely be spent in manufacturing a "new" vaccine against H5N1, additional research and analysis by the scientific community would be both warranted and potentially beneficial.

On February 28, 2006, researchers at the Beijing Genomics Institute released H5N1 sequences under the submission title "A cohort of AIV H5N1 subtypes isolated from wild aquatic birds and domestic poultry revealed rapid transmission, frequent reassortment, and identifiable recombination."  Recombinomics has released a series of commentaries detailing the examples of recombination in these newly released sequences, including single nucleotide polymorphisms.

These newly released public sequences provide compelling evidence of recombination in the H5N1 virus's evolution.  "Release of recent H5N1 sequences is essential," said Recombinomics President, Henry L. Niman, Ph.D. "These sequences provide a roadmap of where H5N1 has been and where it is going.  They also can be used to predict new sequences of new strains of H5N1 before they emerge.  These data are critical for effective vaccine development."

Recombinomics has used the available public sequences to predict the acquisition of HA S227N in the Middle East in the fall of 2005.  The prediction was verified in sequences from the index case in Turkey.  Similarly, Recombinomics has predicted the acquisition of G228S form H1N1 swine in Europe this spring.  Both of these genetic changes increase the affinity of influenza for human receptors and increase the efficiency of H5N1 transmission to humans.  These predications are dependent upon a full and current sequence database.  Through this patent pending approach, Recombinomics identifies novel gene targets for new vaccines, which in turn allows manufacturers to develop vaccines in advance of the emergence of new genetically altered, and potentially pandemic viral strains.

About Recombinomics, Inc. -- The Company was founded by Dr. Henry Niman, a former Scripps Institute Assistant Member, based on his pioneering work in the area of viral evolution.   Dr. Niman's research identified recombination as the underlying mechanism driving rapid genetic change, allowing him to file a series of patents based on a deep understanding of this paradigm shifting process. Recombinomics is in the process of commercializing its patent-pending approach to significantly improve the standard vaccine development process.
Recombinomics, through its analysis and commentary section of its website ( ), has been consistently ahead of both the scientific community and government agencies in anticipating the genetic evolution and geographic expansion of H5N1.

     Contact Information:

     Dr. Henry Niman
     Recombinomics, Inc.
     648 Field Club Road,
     Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15238
     Tel. 866.973.2662



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