The changing nature of avian influenza A virus (H5N1)

Influenza virus Although it has not been in the news much recently, the highly pathogenic avian influenza A virus subtype H5N1 has been endemic in some bird species since its emergence in 1996 and its ecology, genetics and antigenic properties continue to evolve. This has allowed diverse virus strains to emerge in endemic areas with altered receptor specificity, including a new H5 sublineage with enhanced binding affinity to the human-type receptor. The pandemic potential of H5N1 viruses is alarming and may be increasing. This article reviews the complex and changing nature of the H5N1 virus that may contribute to the emergence of pandemic strains – with really serious consequences.

 

The changing nature of avian influenza A virus (H5N1). Tresnd in Microbiology, 5 December 2011

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