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Recombinomics Issues H5N1 Alert

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  • Recombinomics Issues H5N1 Alert

    PR Newswire - March 03, 2006 10:05

    PITTSBURGH, March 3, 2006 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Recombinomics is issuing a warning based on the identification of American sequences in the Qinghai strain of H5N1 isolated in Astrakhan, Russia. The presence of the America sequences in recent isolates in Astrakhan indicates H5N1 has already migrated to North America. The levels of H5N1 in indigenous species will be supplemented by new sequences migrating into North America in the upcoming months.

    Recombinomics uses its patent pending technology to trace the movement of informative sequences in influenza. This approach has identified H9N2 sequences that have migrated from Asia into British Columbia in Canada and California in the United States to recombine with H5N2. Similarly North American sequences from a wide range of sero-types have been found in Astrakhan H5N1 sequences. These data indicate H5N1 is currently expanding its geographical reach into the Americas. Surveillance by Canada and the United States is lacking, as neither country has detected any H5N1 infections.

    The monitoring of the movement of these sequences is improved with a robust and current influenza sequence database. The call for researchers to release sequences to a public database was issued in today's Science magazine. WHO maintains a private database with access limited to 15 laboratories. Many important sequences, such as those from human cases in Indonesia or from birds throughout Europe and the Middle East are held in this database until research papers are published, which can be months after sequencing.

    "It is important to have the sequences available to the entire scientific community," said Recombinomics President, Henry Niman, Ph.D. "H5N1 is traveling and evolving rapidly, and effective monitoring of these changes is most efficient with current data. The WHO consulting labs do not monitor recombination. Recent sequences from China show clear examples of recombination, as noted by the Beijing based submitters of the sequences. These data do not support the WHO's conclusions that H5N1 evolves by random mutation. It is vital that the H5N1 sequences be made available to all researchers for effective monitoring of H5N1as well as for vaccine development."

    Recombinomics supports the request in today's issue of Science that these sequences should be made public immediately. Recombinomics patent pending technology uses these viral sequences to predict the emergence of new and novel strains via recombination. This approach correctly predicted the recombination between H5N1 and H9N2 in domestic poultry that lead to the acquisition of the hemagglutinin polymorphism S227N, which increased the affinity of the hemagglutinin for human receptors. Similarly a new acquisition, G228S, is predicted via recombination between H5N1 and H1N1 in European swine. These predictions are based upon recent sequence information from the currently circulating H5N1 virus as well as donor sequences in a broad spectrum of influenza sero-types. H5N1 uses homologous recombination to create novel genes.

    About Recombinomics, Inc. -- The Company was founded by Dr. Henry Niman, a former Scripps Institute Assistant Member, based on his pioneering work in the area of viral evolution. Dr. Niman's research identified recombination as the underlying mechanism driving rapid genetic change, allowing him to file a series of patents based on a deep understanding of this paradigm shifting process. Recombinomics is in the process of commercializing its patent-pending approach to significantly improve the standard vaccine development process. Recombinomics, through its analysis and commentary section of its website (, has been consistently ahead of both the scientific community and government agencies in anticipating the genetic evolution and geographic expansion of H5N1.

    Contact Information:
    Dr. Henry Niman
    Recombinomics, Inc.
    648 Field Club Road,
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15238
    Tel. 866.973.2662

    SOURCE Recombinomics, Inc.

    Dr. Henry Niman, President of Recombinomics, Inc., +1-866-973-2662, or

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    Copyright (C) 2006 PR Newswire. All rights reserved.

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