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H5N1 high pathogenic avian influenza identified in a recent outbreak in Bangladesh

8 June 2019, at 8:00am

Scientists have identified a novel strain of avian influenza that contained several genetic mutations.

A team of researchers at Bangladesh Agricultural University examined 15 dead or sick birds from 13 clinical outbreaks of avian influenza in Bangladesh. The birds in their sample included ducks, geese, chickens and turkeys. Researchers used RT-PCR (a laboratory method used to detect genetic material and specific proteins) to detect the virus that affected the birds in their sample. Results indicated that the birds were infected with a new variety of H5N1 influenza.

The new iteration of the virus combined various genetic markers from other low pathogenic influenza types that were found in the region since 2013. Researchers hypothesised that this newer version of the virus will supplant the current strain that is infecting poultry and wild birds in Southern Asia.

The researchers also concluded that the mutations detected in the H5N1 samples could be associated with increases in the virus’ ability to infect mammals and reductions in its susceptibility to antiviral agents.

The abstract of the article can be accessed here.