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||Recombinomics Inc. Urges Release of H5N1
Human Sequences from the World Health Organization's (WHO) Private
PITTSBURGH, PA May. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Recombinomics calls for the release of the human H5N1 bird flu sequences from Indonesian victims held at the World Health Organization (WHO) private database. A review of the recent outbreak of human H5N1 cases in Kubuh Sembilang, Indonesia was the most fatal H5N1 familial cluster reported to date. Seven family members were infected with H5N1, and six infections were fatal. The cluster had a typical bimodal distribution, signaling human-to-human transmission from the index case who developed symptoms on April 27, 2006 to family members who developed symptoms in early May. Although there is no reported evidence of spread beyond these family members, the fatal infection of six family members raises concerns that the H5N1 genome has changed.
At this time, sequences from only one H5N1 patient in Indonesia have been made public. This isolate has been selected for development of a new pandemic vaccine in the United States. Although the sequence was deposited in the WHO private database on August 1, 2005, it was not made public until March 25, 2006. The sequence was related to Indonesian poultry sequences, but it had a novel cleavage site. The sequence shows evidence of extensive recombination, with polymorphisms from H5N1 isolates in Vietnam, Thailand, wild birds in China, and the Qinghai strain of H5N1.
Although the novel cleavage site is not found in bird isolates in Indonesia, it is found in the WHO private database, where it is the dominant motif in Indonesian human isolates. The widespread detection of this novel cleavage site, RESRRKKR, in human isolates, and its absence in avian isolates, suggests the origin of the H5N1 infections in humans in Indonesia may not be avian.
Release of these human sequences would provide clues on their origin, including the potential that H5N1 may have been transmitted via swine rather than birds. "Recombinomics has patent pending sequence analysis methods to trace origins of isolates as well as predict sequence changes. The sequences in Indonesia may trace back to swine", said Recombinomics president, Henry Niman, Ph.D. He continued "H5N1 swine isolates in China have cleavage sites that are unique, but distinct from the Indonesian sequence. The release of the human Indonesian sequences, as well as the other influenza sequences in the private database would enhance tracing of origins as well as selection of future vaccine targets, which can be predicted from the H5N1 sequences in all eight gene segments".
Selection of new vaccine targets is vital. H5N1 recombines frequently, leading to rapid evolution. Vaccines against future sequences are more effective than vaccines against sequences that have already emerged. Release of the sequestered sequences will improve selection of vaccine targets, and is essential for the control of the emerging genome.
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 (http://www.recombinomics.com ), has been consistently ahead of both the scientific community and government agencies in anticipating the genetic evolution and geographic expansion of H5N1.
Dr. Henry Niman
648 Field Club Road,
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15238