Outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 virus were reported for the first time in India during February 2006. Herein, we have sequenced and analyzed the PB2 genes of five influenza virus isolates obtained from three affected states (Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra) in India during the outbreaks. In the phylogenetic analysis, the Indian isolates were grouped in the mixed-migratory bird sub-lineage of the Eurasian lineage. From the phylogenetic tree, it is evident that viruses were probably introduced to India from China via Europe because they share a direct ancestral relationship with the Indian isolates. The virus might have spread through migratory waterfowls that survived the HPAI H5N1 infection. These viruses were able to replicate in cultured cells of avian and mammalian hosts and posses lysine at position 627 of the PB2 protein, indicating that they might be able to cross the host barrier to infect mammals.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 1, 2007
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