Learn More
Influenza A viruses cause recurrent outbreaks at local or global scale with potentially severe consequences for human health and the global economy. Recently, a new strain of influenza A virus was detected that causes disease in and transmits among humans, probably owing to little or no pre-existing immunity to the new strain. On 11 June 2009 the World(More)
H5N1 influenza A viruses are widely distributed among poultry in Asia, but until recently, only a limited number of wild birds were affected. During late April through June 2005, an outbreak of H5N1 virus infection occurred among wild birds at Qinghai Lake in China. Here, we describe the features of this outbreak. First identified in bar-headed geese, the(More)
Highly pathogenic avian H5N1 influenza A viruses occasionally infect humans, but currently do not transmit efficiently among humans. The viral haemagglutinin (HA) protein is a known host-range determinant as it mediates virus binding to host-specific cellular receptors. Here we assess the molecular changes in HA that would allow a virus possessing subtype(More)
Although more than 100 people have been infected by H5N1 influenza A viruses, human-to-human transmission is rare. What are the molecular barriers limiting human-to-human transmission? Here we demonstrate an anatomical difference in the distribution in the human airway of the different binding molecules preferred by the avian and human influenza viruses.(More)
The 1918 influenza pandemic was unusually severe, resulting in about 50 million deaths worldwide. The 1918 virus is also highly pathogenic in mice, and studies have identified a multigenic origin of this virulent phenotype in mice. However, these initial characterizations of the 1918 virus did not address the question of its pathogenic potential in(More)
Highly pathogenic avian H5N1 influenza A viruses have spread throughout Asia, Europe, and Africa, raising serious worldwide concern about their pandemic potential. Although more than 250 people have been infected with these viruses, with a consequent high rate of mortality, the molecular mechanisms responsible for the efficient transmission of H5N1 viruses(More)
A single amino acid substitution, from glutamic acid to lysine at position 627 of the PB2 protein, converts a nonlethal H5N1 influenza A virus isolated from a human to a lethal virus in mice. In contrast to the nonlethal virus, which replicates only in respiratory organs, the lethal isolate replicates in a variety of organs, producing systemic infection.(More)
Two amino acids (lysine at position 627 or asparagine at position 701) in the polymerase subunit PB2 protein are considered critical for the adaptation of avian influenza A viruses to mammals. However, the recently emerged pandemic H1N1 viruses lack these amino acids. Here, we report that a basic amino acid at position 591 of PB2 can compensate for the lack(More)
H5N1 influenza A viruses have spread to numerous countries in Asia, Europe and Africa, infecting not only large numbers of poultry, but also an increasing number of humans, often with lethal effects. Human and avian influenza A viruses differ in their recognition of host cell receptors: the former preferentially recognize receptors with saccharides(More)