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Mutation enhances ability of H9N2 avian influenza virus to enter human cells

J. E. Sealy, T. Yaqub, T. P. Peacock and others

Emerging Infectious Diseases (2019)

doi: 10.3201/eid2501.180616

• What did the research find?

A single amino acid substitution results in small changes to the haemagglutinin protein on the surface of avian H9N2 influenza A viruses, leading to an increased affinity for avian-like and human-like receptors mediating entry to cells. The mutation also prevents antibodies from binding and neutralising the virus, which may have implications for vaccine efficacy. However, the mutation appears to reduce the efficiency of viral replication.

• How was it conducted?

H9N2 influenza A viruses isolated in Pakistan between 2014 and 2016 were characterised on the basis of their genetic make up and antigenicity. The molecular differences between the viruses were evaluated for their possible impact on zoonotic potential and vaccine efficiency.

• Why is it important?

H9N2 viruses cause moderate illness and …

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