The latest special issue of Science in China Series C: Life Sciences focuses on the recent progress in the H5N1-related research field.
Early 2009, eight human infection cases of H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus, with 5 death cases, were reported in China. This again made the world alert on a possible pandemic worldwide, probably caused by avian-origin influenza virus. Again H5N1 is in the spotlight of the world, not only for the scientists but also for the ordinary people. How much do we know about this virus? Where will this virus go and where did it come? Can we avoid a possible pandemic of influenza? Will the human beings conquer this devastating agent? Obviously we can list more questions than we know the answers.
Influenza virus, as a pathogenic entity for chickens, has been known since the 19th century. However in 1997, the first human infection case with fatality and the virus identified as strain H5N1 were found in Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region), China, reminding us the virus is expanding its host range from birds to mammalians. In 2003, during the outbreak of SARS (Severe acute respiratory syndrome), one human fatal case was surprisingly diagnosed with an H5N1 virus isolation. This is the first human infection case in the mainland China. Now we know many countries (15 countries up to early 2009) have human infections of H5N1 influenza virus. These countries have become epicenters of influenza viruses, including seasonal influenza in addition to the H5N1 virus. In 2005, even the natural reservoir host, migratory birds were found infected with an outbreak of more than 6000 dead birds involved. Therefore in this special topic, we invite scientists from Hong Kong and mainland China to review recent progress in the H5N1-related research field with seven reviews and one manuscript of original studies on endocytosis and H5N1 influenza virus. The Website for Avian Flu Information consisting of avian in
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Science in China Press