Transmission of influenza A/H5N1 viruses in mammals.
ABSTRACT Highly pathogenic avian H5N1 influenza A viruses occasionally infect humans and cause severe respiratory disease and fatalities. Currently, these viruses are not efficiently transmitted from person to person, although limited human-to-human transmission may have occurred. Nevertheless, further adaptation of avian H5N1 influenza A viruses to humans and/or reassortment with human influenza A viruses may result in aerosol transmissible viruses with pandemic potential. Although the full range of factors that modulate the transmission and replication of influenza A viruses in humans are not yet known, we are beginning to understand some of the molecular changes that may allow H5N1 influenza A viruses to transmit via aerosols or respiratory droplets among mammals. A better understanding of the biological basis and genetic determinants that confer transmissibility to H5N1 influenza A viruses in mammals is important to enhance our pandemic preparedness.
SourceAvailable from: Arwen F Altenburg[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Respiratory viruses infections caused by influenza viruses, human parainfluenza virus (hPIV), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and coronaviruses are an eminent threat for public health. Currently, there are no licensed vaccines available for hPIV, RSV and coronaviruses, and the available seasonal influenza vaccines have considerable limitations. With regard to pandemic preparedness, it is important that procedures are in place to respond rapidly and produce tailor made vaccines against these respiratory viruses on short notice. Moreover, especially for influenza there is great need for the development of a universal vaccine that induces broad protective immunity against influenza viruses of various subtypes. Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara (MVA) is a replication-deficient viral vector that holds great promise as a vaccine platform. MVA can encode one or more foreign antigens and thus functions as a multivalent vaccine. The vector can be used at biosafety level 1, has intrinsic adjuvant capacities and induces humoral and cellular immune responses. However, there are some practical and regulatory issues that need to be addressed in order to develop MVA-based vaccines on short notice at the verge of a pandemic. In this review, we discuss promising novel influenza virus vaccine targets and the use of MVA for vaccine development against various respiratory viruses.Viruses 07/2014; 6(7):2735-2761. DOI:10.3390/v6072735 · 3.28 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Since 1998, cyclic mortality events in common eiders (Somateria mollissima), numbering in the hundreds to thousands of dead birds, have been documented along the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA. Although longitudinal disease investigations have uncovered potential contributing factors responsible for these outbreaks, detecting a primary etiological agent has proven enigmatic. Here we identify a novel orthomyxovirus, tentatively named Wellfleet Bay virus (WFBV), as a potential causative agent of these outbreaks. Genomic analysis of WFBV revealed that it is most closely related to members of the Quaranjavirus genus within the family Orthomyxoviridae. Similar to other members of the genus, WFBV contains an alphabaculovirus gp64-like glycoprotein, which was demonstrated to have fusion activity, and also tentatively suggests that ticks (and/or insects) may vector the virus in nature. However, in addition to the six RNA segments encoding the prototypical structural proteins identified in other quaranjaviruses, a previously unknown RNA segment (segment 7) encoding a novel protein designated as VP7 was discovered in WFBV. Although WFBV shows low to moderate levels of sequence similarity to Quaranfil virus and Johnston Atoll virus, the original members of the Quaranjavirus genus, additional antigenic and genetic analyses demonstrated that it is closely related to the recently identified Cygnet River virus (CyRV) from South Australia, suggesting that WFBV and CyRV may be geographic variants of the same virus. Although the identification of WFBV in part may resolve the enigma of these mass mortality events, the details of the ecology and epidemiology of the virus remain to be determined.Journal of Virology 11/2014; 89(2). DOI:10.1128/JVI.02019-14 · 4.65 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The hemagglutinin (HA) is a prime determinant of the pathogenicity of influenza A viruses. It initiates infection by binding to cell surface receptors and by inducing membrane fusion. The fusion capacity of HA depends on cleavage activation by host proteases, and it has long been known that highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses displaying a multibasic cleavage site differ in protease sensitivity from low pathogenic avian and mammalian influenza viruses with a monobasic cleavage site. Evidence is increasing that there are also variations in proteolytic activation among the viruses with a monobasic cleavage site, and several proteases have been identified recently that activate these viruses in a natural setting. Differences in protease sensitivity of HA and in tissue specificity of the enzymes are important determinants for virus tropism in the respiratory tract and for systemic spread of infection. Protease inhibitors that interfere with cleavage activation have the potential to be used for antiviral therapy and attenuated viruses have been generated by mutation of the cleavage site that can be used for the development of inactivated and live vaccines. It has long been known that human and avian influenza viruses differ in their specificity for sialic acid-containing cell receptors, and it is now clear that human tissues contain also receptors for avian viruses. Differences in receptor-binding specificity of seasonal and zoonotic viruses and differential expression of receptors for these viruses in the human respiratory tract account, at least partially, for the severity of disease. Receptor binding and fusion activation are modulated by HA glycosylation, and interaction of the glycans of HA with cellular lectins also affects virus infectivity. Interestingly, some of the mechanisms underlying pathogenicity are determinants of host range and transmissibility, as well.Current topics in microbiology and immunology 07/2014; DOI:10.1007/82_2014_384 · 3.47 Impact Factor