Navigation Links
UCI scientists reconstruct migration of avian flu virus

UC Irvine researchers have combined genetic and geographic data of the H5N1 avian flu virus to reconstruct its history over the past decade. They found that multiple strains of the virus originated in the Chinese province of Guangdong, and they identified many of the migration routes through which the strains spread regionally and internationally.

By knowing where H5N1 strains develop and migrate, health officials can better limit the spread of the virus by strategically intervening. Local vaccinations can be better administered by using strains from regions that have repeatedly contributed to infections.

"If you can control the virus at its source, you can control it more efficiently," said Walter Fitch, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology in the School of Biological Sciences at UCI and co-author of the study. "With a road map of where the strain has migrated, you're more likely to isolate the strain that you should be using to make the vaccine."

The study appears this week in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

This research offers the first statistical analysis detailing the geographic distribution of influenza A H5N1, the bird flu strain. While previous work informally identified H5N1 strains by location, the UCI analysis is the first to systematically track the migration of H5N1 through its evolutionary history, adding new details that identify the relative importance of the geographic and evolutionary advances the virus makes.

From 192 samples obtained across Eurasia, the UCI team reconstructed the virus's geographic reach and evolution. The analysis shows that Guangdong ?home to a large poultry industry ?is the source of many H5N1 strains that have spread to other provinces and countries. To the south in nearby Indochina, the strains appear largely limited to dispersal among local areas.

Genetic sequences the scientists analyzed suggest that paralle l evolution of different H5N1 strains lets the virus infect and cycle through different host species in a region, regardless of the host or vector species it infects first. This way, the virus can find the right host to spread the infection to the next location. This parallel evolution ?the independent evolution of similar traits ?enables H5N1 to spread quickly, the scientists believe.

"The ability to develop the right mutation allows the virus to hop from one host type to the next," said Robert Wallace, UCI postdoctoral researcher and lead author of the study. "By spreading across a large area, the virus in essence can run multiple experiments in multiple locations, increasing the likelihood that it will mutate into a form that can be transmitted from human to human."

Avian flu has been isolated almost exclusively among bird populations. The H5N1 virus has only sporadically been passed on from a bird host to humans; there is little evidence that the virus can efficiently be passed on from human to human. Although fewer than 300 recorded human cases of this flu have been recorded worldwide, its high mortality rate raises concerns that if the virus mutates to where humans can pass it on, a flu pandemic may occur.


Source:University of California - Irvine

Related biology news :

1. Wisconsin scientists grow critical nerve cells
2. UCSB scientists probe sea floor venting to gain understanding of early life on Earth
3. UAB scientists discover the origin of a mysterious physical force
4. Fox Chase Cancer Center scientists identify immune-system mutation
5. Weizmann Institute scientists develop a new approach for directing treatment to metastasized prostate cancer in the bones.
6. U-M scientists find genes that control growth of common skin cancer
7. UCLA scientists transform HIV into cancer-seeking missile
8. RNA project to create language for scientists worldwide
9. Carnegie Mellon scientists develop tool that uses MRI to visualize gene expression in living animals
10. To control germs, scientists deploy tiny agents provocateurs
11. Leprosy microbes lead scientists to immune discovery
Post Your Comments:

(Date:10/29/2015)... LA JOLLA, Calif. , Oct. 29, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ... released a new report titled, "DNA Synthesis and Biosecurity: ... how well the Department of Health and Human Services ... was issued in 2010. --> ... advances, but it also has the potential to pose ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... NEW YORK , Oct. 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... wearable technology, announced a partnership with 2XU, a ... accessories, to deliver a smart hat with advanced ... runners and other athletes to monitor key biometrics ... of the strategic partnership, the two companies will bring ...
(Date:10/26/2015)... LAS VEGAS , Oct. 26, 2015 ... in modern authentication and a founding member of the ... its latest version of the Nok Nok™ S3 Authentication ... standards-based authentication that supports existing and emerging methods of ... ideal for organizations deploying customer-facing applications that require Internet ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... , November 26, 2015 ... Global Biobanking Market 2016 - 2020 report analyzes ... maintaining integrity and quality in long-term samples, minimizing ... long-term cost-effectiveness. Automation minimizes manual errors such as ... technical efficiency. Further, it plays a vital role ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , November 25, 2015 ... cat and human plaque and pave the way for more ... problems in cats     --> ... most commonly diagnosed health problems in cats, yet relatively little ... now. Two collaborative studies have been conducted by researchers from ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris ... that its business and prospects remain fundamentally strong ... Zoptrex™ (zoptarelin doxorubicin) recently received DSMB recommendation to ... completion following review of the final interim efficacy ... 2 Primary Endpoint in men with heavily pretreated ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Oregon , November 25, 2015 ... Market Research Report is a professional and in-depth ... industry.      (Logo: ) ... overview of the industry including definitions, classifications, applications ... is provided for the international markets including development ...
Breaking Biology Technology: