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Comp Immunol Microbiol Infect Dis. 2019 Jun;64:73-80. doi: 10.1016/j.cimid.2019.03.005. Epub 2019 Mar 8.

Full genome characterization of Iranian H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza virus from Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix), 2017: The first report.

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Iranian Veterinary Organization, Tehran, Iran.
Department of Poultry Diseases, Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute, Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization (AREEO), Tehran, Iran.
Iranian Egg Farmers' Federation, Secretory-General, Tehran, Iran.
Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Islamic Azad University, Karaj Branch, Karaj, Iran.
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran. Electronic address:


During 2014-2017 Clade H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAIVs) have spread worldwide. In 2016, an epidemic of HPAIV H5N8 in Iran caused mass deaths among wild birds, and several commercial poultry farms and captive bird holdings were affected and continue to experience problems. Several outbreaks were reported in 2017. One of them is related to Hooded crow (Corvus cornix) in a national park in Esfahan province in 2017. Whole genome sequencing and characterization have been done on the detected H5N8 sample. Based on HA sequencing results, it belongs to clade, and the cleavage site is (PLREKRRKR/G). Phylogenetic analysis of the HA gene showed that the Iran 2017 H5N8 virus clustered within subgroup Russia 2016 b of group B in H5 clade HPAIV. On the other hand, the NA gene of the virus is placed in group C of Eurasian lineage. Complete genome characterization of this virus revealed probable reassortment of the virus with East-Asian low-pathogenic influenza viruses. Furthermore, the virus possessed some phenotypic markers related to the increased potential for transmission and pathogenicity to mammals at internal segments. This study is the first full genome characterization H5N8 HPAIV in Iran. The data complete the puzzle of molecular epidemiology of H5N8 HPAIV in Iran and the region. Our study provides evidence for fast and continuing reassortment of H5 clade viruses, that might lead to changes in virus structural and functional characteristics such as the route and method of transmission of the virus and virus infective, pathogenic and zoonotic potential.


Avian influenza; Characterization; Crow; Full genome; H5N8; Iran; Phylogenetic study

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