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Sci Rep. 2013;3:2318. doi: 10.1038/srep02318.

Towards a better understanding of the novel avian-origin H7N9 influenza A virus in China.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Life Science and Technology, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei 430074, China.


Recently, a highly dangerous bird flu has infected over 130 patients in China, and the outbreak was attributed to a novel avian-origin H7N9 virus. Here, we performed a systematic analysis of the virus. We clarified the controversial viewpoint on neuraminidase (NA) origin and confirmed it was reassorted from Korean wild birds with higher confidence, whereas common ancestors of pathogenic H7N9 genes existed only one or two years ago. Further analysis of NA sequences suggested that most variations are not drug resistant and current drugs are still effective for the therapy. We also identified a potentially optimal 9-mer epitope, which can be helpful for vaccine development. The interaction of hemagglutinin (HA) and human receptor analog was confirmed by structural modeling, while NA might influence cellular processes through a PDZ-binding motif. A simplified virus infection model was proposed. Taken together, our studies provide a better understanding of the newly reassorted H7N9 viruses.

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