5 Responses

  1. Michael Tucker
    Michael Tucker at | | Reply

    Luckily there has not been any transmission human to human and the only spread to humans is associated with poultry. However, the influenza virus is a segmented RNA virus. Both are key features that allow this virus to change through either recombination or mutation. Due to this we need to quickly develop a vaccine to get a better handle on this virus before it changes and is able to spread from human to human, especially because there are people with immune systems that are unable to recognize the virus. The vaccine wouldn’t be useful for them in the sense of boosting their immune response, however with a vaccine would herd immunity then play a role in helping lower the chances of them getting the virus?

    1. James Padgett
      James Padgett at | | Reply

      I doubt that vaccinating certain members will grant the population herd immunity since the virus is only transmitted via poultry to humans. If the unvaccinated person were to eat infected poultry, they would still contract the virus regardless of if those around him are vaccinated. The only way for a vaccine to be effective, since the flu is asymptomatic in birds, is likely to vaccinate all of the poultry entering the country. If the poultry is vaccinated, they hopefully won’t become infected and pass it onto those who do not have the necessary HLA molecules to fight it off.

  2. S. McKellar
    S. McKellar at | | Reply

    I find it interesting that certain ethnic groups have more of a defense mechanism against this new Influenza virus, as oppose to other ethnicities. Due to the lack of recognition they are more susceptible to viruses because they have no memory cells of the H7N9 present. I believe more initiative needs to be taken by the government of these indigenous countries by having vaccines put into place, so that more people are protected from these infections. Likewise, people are affected with this virus because of infected poultry so more stricter food safety precautions need to be put into place so that these kinds of threats to ones immune system are controlled.

  3. LEdwards
    LEdwards at | | Reply

    As you mentioned in the posting, H7N9 virus is a combination of three known viruses. This made me think that the three viruses related to H7N9 are also found in China. Just like humans, viruses as well as the molecules in our body mutate and evolve throughout the years. With evolution, natural selection plays an important role. If a feature is not needed, it slowly goes away. Perhaps the people living in Alaska and Australia were never exposed to the three viruses that make up H7N9 and therefore do not have the HLA variants necessary to bind to the peptides. This made me curious; it is possible for HLA molecules to evolve geographically with the human population?

    I found a blog that discussed this similar idea. http://lifescienceexplore.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/some-ethnic-groups-more-susceptible-to-h7n9-bird-flu/ Since Alaska and Australia are geographically remote; their exposures to viruses have been fewer than most countries. If the presence of the other three viruses were prevelant in Alaska and Australia, the HLA molecules in the people living there could have evolved helping their immune system.

  4. JLH
    JLH at | | Reply

    Lesser developed areas in China and Asia often have people living in close quarters with animals, especially in the market areas where people sell chicken, pig, and other wild animal products, and small home farms where people keep small amounts of livestock. Of course, these products are not handled and stored properly, at least by FDA and USDA standards. Having live and freshly killed chickens and pigs in close proximity to humans is the perfect combination of conditions necessary for a major influenza shift event. In a recent 2014 study tracing H10N8 through Nanchang, China, researchers stated that in live-poultry markets, “the sale of freshly slaughtered poultry, live poultry transportation, and mixed trading of different domestic animals provide environments conducive to genome segment reassortment, gene mutation, and interspecies transmission of AIVs.” Pigs, chickens, and humans are the three species of animals in which the large majority of interspecies transmission of influenza strains occurs. This occurs when a single animal is infected with two unique strains of influenza, for example H10N2 and H5N7. Because influenza is a segmented virus, it has the ability to undergo genetic reassortment (ie. antigenic shift), to create a novel strain of virus. In this example, H10N7 may result. Markets and farms in close proximity to humans in these lesser-developed countries are where epidemics and pandemics begin, as people will not have antibodies to these novel viral strains. Fortunately, many novel influenza strains cannot infect additional humans after jumping the species barrier from pig to human or bird to human – the virus will need to undergo mutation/drift events in order to obtain the right characteristics for this to occur.

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