Saturday, August 27, 2005
Possibility Of European H5N1/H7N7 Recombination?
H5N1 in Scandinavian countries would be particularly dangerous. In 2003 there was an outbreak of H7N7 in the Netherlands. Over 30 million birds were culled. However H5N7 isolates were found, indicting H7N7 had reassorted with H5N2. Reassortment, or swapping of whole genes, happens during dual infections, when the same host is infected with two different viruses. The H5N7 isolated in 2003 from a mallard duck in Denmark was novel and signaled new genetic combinations between H5 and H7 viruses.That would be a very, very unfortunate event.
Dual infections can also lead to recombination, where portions of genes are swapped. H7 is dangerous to humans because it can be easily transmitted human to human, which is a property that is lacking in H5N1. However, a dual infection involving H5N1 and H7N7 could lead to recombination where H5N1 acquires the human receptor binding domain on H7.
If you begin to quack or waddle, seek medical help immediately.
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