Recombinomics Inc. Predicts Important Genetic Change in the H5N1 (Avian Flu) Virus

Feb 14, 2006, 00:00 ET from Recombinomics Inc.

    PITTSBURGH, Feb. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Recombinomics Inc. issued an avian
 influenza prediction and warning on October 22, 2005 of a likely genetic
 alteration in the H5N1 hemagglutinin gene that would lead to more efficient
 transmission of H5N1 to humans.  This genetic change was linked to H5N1 from
 migrating birds flying into the Middle East and infecting birds indigenous to
 the region already carrying another avian influenza sero-type, H9N2.
 Recombinomics clearly predicted that this dual infection would allow the
 genetic material of the two viruses to recombine and create an important
 genetic change. Specifically, the company's President, Dr. Henry Niman,
 predicted that the serine at position 227 (also called 223) would change to
 asparagine.  This change would increase the affinity of the hemagglutinin
 glycoprotein for human receptors, leading to an increased efficiency of
 transmission of H5N1 from birds to humans, and very possibly from humans to
     On January 5, 2006 the WHO announced that H5N1 had been confirmed in a
 human index case in Turkey.  On January 19th, the scientific journal, Nature,
 summarized this development and described ongoing research at the National
 Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), in London, that identified the genetic
 alteration, S227N (also called S223N) -- confirming the change predicted in
 the aforementioned Recombinomics warning of October 22, 2005.   Recombinomics
 stood alone in making this prediction.
     "Recombinomics, Inc. utilized a proprietary understanding of the natural
 process of recombination to identify potential Influenza donor sequences,
 which could then recombine with H5N1 in wild birds to produce an altered
 hemagglutinin gene product that would increase the efficiency of H5N1
 infections in humans" said Dr. Henry Niman.  "Our patent pending technology,
 coupled with information on wild bird migration patterns, allowed us to
 identify the general timeframe, geographic location, and the specific genetic
 change that would occur in the H5N1 virus".
     The genetic alteration predicted by Recombinomics was identified in the
 index case of a large familial cluster involving at least three sets of human
 cousins in Turkey.  Included in this H5N1 familial cluster were seven
 confirmed cases, four of which became fatal, and nine additional hospitalized
 cases. The size of the clusters demonstrated how small, but "predictable,"
 genetic changes can dramatically increase the transmission efficiency of H5N1
 from birds to humans, and humans to humans.  This increased efficiency is the
 last remaining step in the progression of H5N1 toward a catastrophic pandemic.
     H5N1, like most rapidly evolving viruses, uses homologous recombination to
 create novel genes that enhance the ability of the virus to evolve and remain
 competitively viable.  Recombinomics' proprietary approach predicts these
 changes and identifies novel gene targets for new vaccines, which in turn
 allows manufacturers to develop vaccine in advance of the emergence of new
 genetically altered, and potentially pandemic viral strains.
     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.