New Threat of Avian Influenza- Human Transmission

Posted: 20 November 2018 at 11:44 am

Research led by The Pirbright Institute has shown mutant H9N2 bird flu viruses isolated from Pakistan are able to escape immune responses and adapt to infect humans.

This could result in reduced vaccine efficiency and the possibility of human outbreaks.

Published inĀ Emerging Infectious Diseases, Pirbright scientists carrying out surveillance research discovered small changes to a surface protein, called haemagglutinin, of the H9N2 influenza A virus enabled the mutated virus to enter human cells.

The group is now working on understanding how this mutant H9N2 avian influenza A virus could generate a mutation that hits the right balance, while retaining its ability to bind to human-like receptors.

Having this information will allow better screening of circulating avian influenza viruses for traits that may allow them to infect humans, providing early warning as to their pandemic potential.