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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 2:46 pm 
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Media stories are starting to appear which are counting the "mutations" required for mammalian transmission, and even though they can be countered on one hand, the media stories are not close to the correct number of missing mutations.

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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 2:47 pm 
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By Thomas Moore, Health and Science Correspondent
A virulent new bird flu virus that has killed more than 20 people in just four weeks could become a global threat, public health experts have warned.

At least 126 people in China have been infected with the H7N9 virus, most of them near Shanghai. So far around 20% have died. Another 60% have been treated in hospital for serious lung problems.

Public Health England (PHE) has taken the precaution of writing to GPs, warning them to be alert for symptoms in travellers returning from the Far East.

Dr John Watson, Head of Respiratory Diseases at PHE, told a news briefing at the Science Media Centre in London: "There may be a temptation in the UK to think this is happening a long way away.


The first case outside China was in taiwan
"But this should be taken very seriously. We need to be vigilant.

"At the moment the risk here is low. But we are taking steps to prepare and do more if it becomes a worldwide threat."

So far all the cases are thought to have been infected though contact with live chickens. There is no current evidence of the virus spreading between people.

But scientists say the virus has already acquired two of the five critical changes to its genes that are needed for human-to-human transmission.

Professor Wendy Barclay, chair in influenza virology at Imperial College London, said: "That's why we are so worried.

"We are not sure why people get so sick with this virus. A lot of these patients were old or had underlying health problems."

Attempts are being made to isolate virus samples that could be used to make a vaccine. Tests have also confirmed that the virus is killed by the anti-viral drugs Tamiflu and Relenza.

Experts warned that cynicism must not hold back the global response to the virus.


No vaccine against the N7N9 virus is available as yet
After the H1N1 pandemic in 2009, the World Health Organisation was panned for overreacting to a relatively mild strain.

In the UK, the Department of Health was criticised for spending so much on vaccines and drugs, some of which weren't needed.

But Prof Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust's Major Overseas Programme in Vietnam, said: "There is a risk of inertia, but thankfully we are not seeing that.

"We have to manage expectations, communicate risk and be honest about what we know."

http://news.sky.com/story/1085613/deadl ... gps-warned

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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 3:05 pm 
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niman wrote:
By Thomas Moore, Health and Science Correspondent

So far all the cases are thought to have been infected though contact with live chickens. There is no current evidence of the virus spreading between people.

But scientists say the virus has already acquired two of the five critical changes to its genes that are needed for human-to-human transmission.

Professor Wendy Barclay, chair in influenza virology at Imperial College London, said: "That's why we are so worried.

http://news.sky.com/story/1085613/deadl ... gps-warned

There is no evidence that ALL H7N9 cases are due to infection by chickens and there is strong evidence that NONE are from chickens.

Moreover, the human cases have at least THREE of the five changes cited above (PB2 E627K, H7 T160A to abolish glycosylation site at position 158, and H7 Q226L).

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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 3:19 pm 
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> strong evidence that NONE are from chickens.

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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 3:24 pm 
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.H7N9 bird flu is a 'serious threat' - researchers warnBy James Gallagher

Health and science reporter, BBC News

The outbreak of a new type of bird flu in China poses a "serious threat" to human health, but it is still too soon to predict how far it will spread, experts have said.

Of the 126 people known to be infected so far, 24 have died, with many more still severely ill in hospital.

The H7N9 virus has not, however, yet proved able to spread between people - which limits its global threat.

The threat should be "treated calmly, but seriously", researchers advised.

There is concern over both the pace and severity of the outbreak.

There has been a relatively high number of known infections since the first case was detected in April.

Prof John McCauley, the director of a World Health Organization (WHO) collaborating centre in the UK, said: "It is unusual to get these numbers."

Transmission
How the virus spreads is key. As long as it can spread only from a bird to a person through direct contact it posses a relatively small risk globally - particularly in richer countries where such contact is rare. If it can spread from one person to another then the threat becomes much more potent. This has not yet happened and it is impossible to tell whether it will happen tomorrow or never.

Of those infected, a fifth died, a fifth recovered and the rest are still ill. The infection results in severe pneumonia and even blood poisoning and organ failure.

"The WHO considers this a serious threat," said Prof McCauley, "but we don't know at this stage whether this is going to spread from human to human."

So far nearly all cases have been traced back to contact with poultry. If the virus adapts to spread readily between people it will pose a much greater threat and scientists warn that the virus is mutating rapidly.

The last major bird flu, H5N1, made the jump to people in 1997 and killed more than three hundred people - yet, it is still unable to spread between humans.

Predicting which viruses will become deadly on a global scale is impossible.

Prof Jeremy Farrar, a leading expert in bird flu and the director-elect of one of the world's largest research charities, the Wellcome Trust, said N7N9 needed to be taken seriously.

AdvertisementH7N9 is the 'nastiest virus in humans in years'

"Whenever an influenza virus jumps across from its normal host in bird populations into humans it is a cause for concern," he said.

Often in pandemics older people have some immunity as they have lived longer and have been exposed to similar viruses before.

However, in this outbreak the ages of those infected ranges from two to 81.

Prof Farrar said: "That suggests there truly is no immunity across all ages, and that as humans we have not seen this virus before.

"The response has been calm and measured, but it cannot be taken lightly."

New threat

A study published in the Lancet medical journal suggests that H7N9 influenza is a mix of at least four viruses with origins in ducks and chickens.

Unlike the previous H5N1 outbreak, it is not deadly to poultry. It means it is much harder to track the spread of the virus.

A highly controversial piece of research in 2012 showed that it would take five mutations to transform H5N1 into a pandemic.

Prof Wendy Barclay, an influenza researcher at Imperial College London, said: "H7N9 might be one step closer to being able to become a pandemic than H5 is in nature at the moment."

It already has one of the five mutations when it is infecting birds.

"In people who have caught the H7 virus so far we can see [another] one of the important mutations occurring in those people in a matter of days," she said.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-22364628

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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 3:33 pm 
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niman wrote:
.H7N9 bird flu is a 'serious threat' - researchers warn
By James Gallagher

Health and science reporter, BBC News

Prof Wendy Barclay, an influenza researcher at Imperial College London, said: "H7N9 might be one step closer to being able to become a pandemic than H5 is in nature at the moment."

It already has one of the five mutations when it is infecting birds.

"In people who have caught the H7 virus so far we can see [another] one of the important mutations occurring in those people in a matter of days," she said.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-22364628

The above comments assume the human cases are from birds, which don't have PB2 E627K or D701N, and since ALL human H7N9 cases to date have had E627K or D701N, the above researcher assumes that every human PB2 sequence has one or the other because every times there is an H7N9 infection, either PB2 E627K or D701N is acquired in "a matter of days", However, humans are infected by other humans which already have E627K or D701N.

Moreover, all (even birds) have T160A, which abolishes the glycosylation site at position 158, which is a second critical change, and as mentioned above all have a key PB2 change (7 of 8 have E627K and one has D701N).

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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 3:39 pm 
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gsgs wrote:
> strong evidence that NONE are from chickens.

Correct!

So far ALL human H7N9 cases have a PB2 with E627K or D701N and ZERO bird PB2 sequences have a change at either position.

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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 3:44 pm 
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May 1, 2013 5:51 pm

The new H7N9 bird flu virus, which has infected 126 people in China and killed 24 over the past month, poses a “serious” threat to world health, virologists said on Wednesday.

“The World Health Organisation considers this to be a very unusual event,” said John McCauley, director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Influenza at the UK National Institute for Medical Research. “With a 20 per cent mortality rate it is serious but we don’t know whether it is going to spread from human to human.”

Genetic analysis shows that H7N9 has two of the five mutations believed to be required for a flu virus to spread easily through the air between people, said Wendy Barclay, professor of influenza virology at Imperial College London.

But intensive surveillance in China has not provided clear evidence of spread between people – everyone infected so far could have picked up the virus from domestic poultry or wild birds.................

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/73ad569c ... z2S4G0Gi00

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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 3:50 pm 
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niman wrote:
May 1, 2013 5:51 pm

Genetic analysis shows that H7N9 has two of the five mutations believed to be required for a flu virus to spread easily through the air between people, said Wendy Barclay, professor of influenza virology at Imperial College London.

But intensive surveillance in China has not provided clear evidence of spread between people – everyone infected so far could have picked up the virus from domestic poultry or wild birds.................

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/73ad569c ... z2S4G0Gi00

More myth from same source claiming all H7N9 cases are from birds and still fails to correctly count changes because ALL human H7N9 sequences which include H7 and PB2 have THREE of the five changes, H7 T160A which abolishes the glycosylation site at position 158, Q226L, and PB2 E627K or D701N. Moreover, the remaining two are ambiguous, so H7N9 may already have one or both.

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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 3:56 pm 
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GPs have been sent letters advising what action to take if they spot a case

By ANNA HODGEKISS
PUBLISHED: 11:30 EST, 1 May 2013 | UPDATED: 11:51 EST, 1 May 2013

A deadly bird flu virus sweeping through China has taken the first steps towards becoming a global threat to humans, experts have revealed.
In the space of one month, the avian strain known as H7N9 has spread through all 31 Chinese provinces and claimed 125 victims, killing a fifth of those infected.
Scientists say it is mutating rapidly and already has two of five genetic changes believed to be necessary for human-to-human transmission.

Experts speaking in London today said there was no room for complacency over H7N9, and warned against the mistake of assuming it was a far-away foreign problem.

A Chinese tourist wears a face mask in front of a portrait of leader Sun Yat-sen at Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Scientists say it is mutating rapidly and becoming more of a threat to humans
GPs have been sent letters advising them on how to identify cases and what action to take if one is suspected.
So far the the virus has been found in chickens and only affected people who have had close contact with the birds, often at live markets.
If it were to become fully adapted to human hosts it could result in a serious worldwide pandemic claiming millions of lives.
The 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic - the worst flu pandemic in modern history - killed up to 80 million people worldwide and is believed to have originated in birds.

The virus has infected people of all age groups, from two to 81, suggesting that humans have no natural immunity to it.
So far 20 per cent of victims have died, 20 per cent are recovering and the rest remain ill. In fatal cases, the virus has triggered sepsis - a massive inflammatory response - leading to multiple organ failure.
Leading British expert Professor Peter Openshaw, director of the Centre for Respiratory Infection at Imperial College London, said: 'This is a very, very serious disease in those who have been infected. So if this were to become more widespread it would be an extraordinarily devastating outbreak.

The bird flu virus is mutating rapidly and already has two of five genetic changes believed to be necessary for human-to-human transmission
'It's very unusual to see more than 100 new cases in a very short time period. I think it's definitely something we need to be concerned about.'
Scientists have learned lessons from the H5N1 bird flu strain which also emerged in China, and since 2003 has led to 628 confirmed cases in 15 countries and 374 deaths.
With a 60 per cent mortality rate, H5N1 is even more deadly than the new strain. Luckily it has not yet shown any sign of making the jump to human-to-human transmission.
Although there is no reason to think that H7N9 will acquire this ability any time soon, it already displays some degree of human adaptation.
In H5N1, five key genetic changes were identified that scientists believe are needed for the virus to become a potential pandemic threat.
Laboratory studies have revealed two of these mutations in H7N9. One of them is integral to the 'H7' part of its structure and enables the virus to latch onto certain receptor molecules in the human respiratory tract. It is seen even when the virus is confined to chickens.

British experts today warned against the mistake of assuming it was a far-away foreign problem
The other has only been acquired after human infection and helps the virus to replicate inside cells.
How easy or difficult it might be for the other three changes to occur, and to what extent H7N9 needs the same mutations as H5N1 to pass between humans, is unknown.
'There are hallmarks of human adaptation in the virus,' said Professor Wendy Barclay, chairwoman of influenza virology at Imperial College London. 'What that means is that the virus is mutating rapidly still and acquiring selective adaptive mutations when it crosses into people.'
Although H7N9 readily infects chickens, and probably wild birds, it does not kill them - unlike H5N1. This makes it extremely difficult to track and hinders attempts to reduce the chances of human infection.
One previous outbreak of an 'H7' flu strain was recorded in the Netherlands in 2003. However this was a very different sub-type of virus, since it caused non-fatal eye infections.

Dr John Watson, head of respiratory diseases at Public Health England, the body that has taken over from the Health Protection Agency, said it was important not to assume there was no threat to the UK.
'It might be tempting to feel, fine, let's just sit back and wait,' he said. 'We feel it's important nevertheless to be taking this very seriously, because of the illness that it's caused, because of the novelty, and because of the possibilities there are about what it does next.'
An ever present possibility is someone importing the virus into the UK from China.
If a case were confirmed, the patient would have to be isolated and treated quickly. Details of his or her history and contacts with other people would also have to be obtained.
The experts pointed out that the virus was sensitive to antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu, stocks of which remained in the UK after the swine flu pandemic of 2009-10. Currently there is no readily available vaccine against the strain.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/artic ... z2S4ZAgu3p

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