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Molecular Basis for High Virulence of Hong Kong H5N1 Influenza A Viruses

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Science  07 Sep 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5536, pp. 1840-1842
DOI: 10.1126/science.1062882

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Abstract

In 1997, an H5N1 influenza A virus was transmitted from birds to humans in Hong Kong, killing 6 of the 18 people infected. When mice were infected with the human isolates, two virulence groups became apparent. Using reverse genetics, we showed that a mutation at position 627 in the PB2 protein influenced the outcome of infection in mice. Moreover, high cleavability of the hemagglutinin glycoprotein was an essential requirement for lethal infection.

  • ↵* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: kawaokay{at}svm.vetmed.wisc.edu

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