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Two New H5N1 Bird Flu Mutations Could Cause Faster Human Spread

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posted on Nov, 17 2006 @ 02:04 AM
Either of two H5N1 bird flu mutations found in samples from human victims in Azerbaijan and Iraq could trigger a pandemic, reports a group of researchers from Tokyo University and the Japan Science and Technology Agency. Led by scientist Shinya Yamada, the team's findings were published this week in the Nature journal. Both mutations allow the H5N1 virus to attach to human airway cells - a key ability for rapid person-to-person transmission, with pandemic potential.
Either of two simple bird flu virus mutations could trigger a deadly pandemic - and both already have popped up in humans infected with the H5N1 bird flu virus. ...They've been seen in bird flu viruses isolated from two people in Azerbaijan and from one person in Iraq, according to the Japanese scientists. Neither mutation has been seen among the more than 600 H5N1 viruses isolated from birds.

The two human mutations give the bird flu virus the ability to attach to human cells. It's the kind of mutation seen early in the 1918, 1957, and 1968 flu pandemics, warn Shinya Yamada of the University of Tokyo and colleagues. ...Fortunately, the H5N1 viruses carrying these mutations do not appear to have caused any outbreaks of human-to-human transmission.

..."an essential indicator of pandemic potential," the researchers report. ...Previous flu pandemics came from bird flu viruses. Each time, the pandemic took off when the viruses learned to attach to human airway cells. ...Yamada and colleagues manipulated H5N1 viruses in the laboratory to see what it would take to make a bird flu virus do this. ...They found that either of two mutations - single amino-acid changes at specific places in the viral DNA - did the trick. ...The researchers suggest that health authorities look for these mutations in bird flu viruses isolated from humans. If found, they could be an early warning of a budding pandemic.

SOURCE: Yamada, S. Nature, Nov. 16, 2006; vol 444: pp 378-382.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


Two Bird Flu Gene Mutations Might Lead to Faster Human Spread

Bird Flu Finding a way to Evolve?

Clues to pandemic bird flu found

Researchers discover crucial human-borne bird flu clues

Scientists ID Bird Flu Virus Mutations

Some of the news coverage is contradictory, phrased to downplay the implications of the new-found mutations.

Governments, the World Health Organization and other agencies claim that bird flu is NOT spreading human-to-human, despite the new mutations. Although small human clusters were seen last spring, none have been reported this fall except for the mother-son infections in Indonesia last week.

Still, most warn a pandemic is coming, saying, "The question is not if, but when."

But are we being fully informed? Or underinformed, to prevent panic?

As Dr. Greger advises in his free online book Bird Flu - A Virus of Our Own Hatching:

"Don't be afraid. Be prepared."


[edit on 17-11-2006 by soficrow]

[edit on 2006-11-17 by wecomeinpeace]

posted on Nov, 17 2006 @ 01:26 PM

...but it's just another maybe, maybe not snippet isn't it?

Bird flu is sneaking back into the news. But no one cares any more.


New Bird Flu Cases Discovered In Egypt

Four Egyptians were admitted to hospital Thursday in the southern governorate of Sohag on suspicion of contracting the bird flu virus, according to newspaper reports Friday.

The victims ranged between nine months and 18 years and were sent to the Sohag general hospital and the regional university hospital.

Blood samples were taken from the four and sent to be tested in the central labs of the ministry of health.

posted on Nov, 17 2006 @ 03:15 PM
I heard about this two days ago!!!!!!!

Two spots or points I think that is what is called to just mutate to infect humans more easy.!!!!!!!

That is just a question of time for the mutation to happen.

And all we got is Tamiflu to help us.!!!!!!

I heard that is a strength of flu also affecting dogs!!!!! and is not cure for it.

Just like human symptoms but is not spreadable yet to humans.

To many things going on and no enough media.

posted on Nov, 17 2006 @ 03:59 PM
I too have wondered why Bird Flu has dropped off the radar...

Any more news on the egyptian outbreak? I hate hearing of little kids dying, so please tell me it's good news...

posted on Nov, 17 2006 @ 05:24 PM

Originally posted by stumason
I too have wondered why Bird Flu has dropped off the radar...

I'm guessing Asia has clusters - and there is a mainstream news blackout to "prevent panic" - and protect the area from being unfairly 'demonized.' Bad press says developing countries are creating disease - when really it's industry and industrial agricultural practices. So a news blackout is win-win by those terms.

...Business is getting a heads-up though, with coverage in Forbes and Bloomberg.

Any more news on the egyptian outbreak? I hate hearing of little kids dying, so please tell me it's good news...

It will take a couple of days for tests to be run.


posted on Nov, 18 2006 @ 01:00 PM

Who's hoarding all the flu data?

And why?

H5N1 In Delaware

The failure to isolate H5N1 from any source since August, in spite of widespread detection throughout the United States, raises serious questions about the surveillance program in the United States and Canada, which also has not announced H5N1 isoaltions for this year, and has only released one partial sequence from H5 isolated throughout Canada in 2005.

The H5 sequence contain valuable information about the acquistion of H5N1, swine, and human sequences. Sequence data from H5 in the United States and Canada should be released immediately.


H5N1 Acquisitions of Mammalian Polymorphisms Cause Concern

New H5N1 sequences released this month provide additional examples of recombination, including the acquisition of mammalian polymorphisms. H5N1 PB2 sequences from southern China had several examples, which extended regions of identity between H5N1 sequences and human H3N2 and H1N1 sequences. As these regions of identity grow, the potential for additional acquisitions also grow, because the new acquisitions increase the size of the region of identity. In addition, as the avian gene becomes more "mammalian-like", additional acquisitions are more compatable with the evolving genome. Thus, the acquisition rate can accelerate as the mammalian polymorphisms accumulate.

One change that has caused concern is M230I, which was found in the H5N1 from a recent fatal case in Egypt. M230I is a mammalian polymorphism. It is the dominant amino acid in the two circulating influenza A serotypes, H3N2 and H1N1 as well as influenza B. Although this change has been found in a limited number of prior H5N1 isolates, it is the first example of the change in the Qinghai strain. The change is also present in a limited number of other serotypes, including important mammalian isolates such as H3N8 in dogs and horses, H7N7 in seals, horses, and humans, as well as H7N3 in humans.


Both squabbling groups have very large amounts of unpublished sequence information for all eight H5N1 gene segments and the time to stop hoarding has past. H5N1 is rapidly evolving and becoming increasingly diverse, as is easily seen by simply comparing receptor binding domain or cleavage site changes.

posted on Nov, 18 2006 @ 03:17 PM
How do we know that humans has not been infected in the US? I imagine that for the time being it will be isolated cases and they will hid them from public knowledge.

But is anyway to find out?

posted on Nov, 18 2006 @ 04:20 PM

Originally posted by marg6043
How do we know that humans has not been infected in the US? I imagine that for the time being it will be isolated cases and they will hid them from public knowledge.

But is anyway to find out?

I doubt we can find out - doctors need to order the right tests, and use molecular diagnostics.

It's not being done.

...But there sure are a lot of suspicious outbreaks in hospitals, emergency rooms and care homes.

If there is a policy of non-disclosure - which there seems to be - we won't know until our family, friends or neighbors start dropping. By then it will be too late to protect ourselves.

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