Recombinomics, Inc. Urges The Release of All H5N1 Sequences from the World Health Organization's (WHO) Private Database

Jun 02, 2006, 01:00 ET from Recombinomics, Inc.

    PITTSBURGH, June 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Comments by the Director General of
 Infection Control in Indonesia, I Nyoman Kandun, on releasing H5N1 avian
 influenza sequences are encouraging. They follow a recent news article by
 Declan Butler in Nature magazine questioning the withholding of the
 information following the largest and most fatal cluster of bird flu in
 Indonesia. The disease onset dates for cluster members strongly supported
 sequential transmission of H5N1. Sequences from this outbreak and early
 human cases in Indonesia are sequestered at the World Health Organization's
 (WHO) private database. Recombinomics has called for full release of these
 sequences previously.
     At this time, sequences from only one H5N1 patient in Indonesia have
 been made public. This specific isolate has been selected for development
 of a new pandemic vaccine in the United States. Although the sequence was
 deposited in the WHO private database on August 1, 2005, it was not made
 public until March 25, 2006. The sequence was related to Indonesian poultry
 sequences, but it had a novel cleavage site. The sequence shows evidence of
 extensive recombination, with polymorphisms from H5N1 isolates in Vietnam,
 Thailand, wild birds in China, and the Qinghai strain of H5N1.
     The description of H5N1 sequences from Indonesia indicates at least
 three distinct H5N1 strains are circulating in humans in Indonesia. The
 most common strain is similar to the publicly available sequence, which has
 a novel cleavage site which has not been reported in poultry in Indonesia
 or elsewhere. A second strain has the wild type cleavage site, but has PB2
 E627K, which is associated with increased virulence in mammals and an
 almost universal fatality rate in humans. The third version is in the
 recent large cluster in north Sumatra and is amantadine resistant.
     Release of these human sequences would provide clues on their origin.
 Recombinomics has patent pending sequence analysis methods to trace origins
 of isolates as well as predict sequence changes. "The diversity of co-
 circulating strains of H5N1 can be effectively analyzed with Recombinomics
 technology, but the usefulness of the approach is enhanced by a robust
 database of all eight gene segments. Currently H5N1 sequences from only two
 of these segments from one patient in Indonesia are publicly available,"
 said Recombinomics president, Henry Niman, Ph.D. He continued, "Data from
 an H5N1 infected cat as well as other hosts in Indonesia and worldwide
 would also enhance the analysis, adding to the need for the release of all
 sequestered H5N1 sequences."
     Selection of new vaccine targets is vital. H5N1 recombines frequently,
 leading to rapid evolution. Vaccines against future sequences are more
 effective than vaccines against sequences that have already emerged.
 Release of the sequestered sequences will improve selection of vaccine
 targets, and is essential for the control of an emerging pandemic genome.
     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
      Contact Information:
      Dr. Henry Niman
      Recombinomics, Inc.
      648 Field Club Road,
      Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15238
      Tel. 866.973.2662

SOURCE Recombinomics, Inc.