Several strains of the bird flu virus that raged across southern China were blocked from entering Thailand and Vietnam, UC Irvine researchers have discovered.
This first-ever statistical analysis of influenza A H5N1’s genetic diversity helps scientists better understand how the virus migrates and could, in the future, help health officials determine whether efforts to thwart its spread were successful.
“Some countries appear more exposed to bird flu invasion than others. Learning that is a good step in discovering which social and ecological factors promote, or, on the other hand, hamper the virus’ spread,” said Robert G. Wallace, a postdoctoral researcher and lead author of the study.
The results appear online Feb. 27 in the journal PLoS ONE.
Since its emergence in 1996, H5N1 has only sporadically been passed from birds to humans. Although only about 350 human cases of this influenza have been recorded worldwide, its high mortality rate raises concerns that if the virus mutates in such a way that humans can pass it on, a deadly flu pandemic may result. More than 60 percent of humans who contract the virus die from it.
In this study, Wallace and Walter M. Fitch, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UCI, analyzed nearly 500 publicly available genetic sequences of proteins found on the surface of the influenza virus. These sequences originally were collected from 28 Eurasian and African localities through 2006.
The study also showed that H5N1 strains circulating in Indonesia, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam shared the most evolutionary history with H5N1 circulating in several provinces in southern China. The provinces, Guangdong, Fujian and Hong Kong, are engaged in intensive international trade, including poultry. Previous research has concluded the poultry trade is a key mechanism for the spread of the H5N1 virus.
The researchers suggest that health officials trying to block new strains of the virus from spreading could use the methods employed in this study to determine whether interventions are working.
“You can think of it as a type of evolutionary forensics,” Wallace said. “When a bomb explodes, investigators can determine how many charges went off and the strength and direction of the blast, all from the resulting damage alone. Here we can determine the way H5N1 has spread and evolved by the resulting viral diversity.”
The National Institutes of Health funded the study.Disclaimer
Rebecca Walton | alfa
Enduring cold temperatures alters fat cell epigenetics
19.04.2018 | University of Tokyo
Full of hot air and proud of it
18.04.2018 | University of Pittsburgh
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.
Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...
In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...
In an article that appears in the journal “Review of Modern Physics”, researchers at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (LAP) assess the current state of the field of ultrafast physics and consider its implications for future technologies.
Physicists can now control light in both time and space with hitherto unimagined precision. This is particularly true for the ability to generate ultrashort...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
19.04.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
19.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy