Recombinomics, Inc. Identifies American Sequences in the H5N1 (Avian Flu) Virus

Mar 03, 2006, 00:00 ET from Recombinomics, Inc.

    PITTSBURGH, March 3 /PRNewswire/ -- 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
     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.