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Open AccessArticle

Genetic, Molecular, and Pathogenic Characterization of the H9N2 Avian Influenza Viruses Currently Circulating in South China

College of Veterinary Medicine, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Viruses 2019, 11(11), 1040; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11111040 (registering DOI)
Received: 28 August 2019 / Revised: 2 November 2019 / Accepted: 6 November 2019 / Published: 8 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Viruses: Surveillance, Prevention, Evolution and Control)
The prevalence and variation of the H9N2 avian influenza virus (AIV) pose a threat to public health. A total of eight viruses isolated from farmed poultry in South China during 2017–2018 were selected as representative strains for further systematic study. Phylogenetic analyses indicated that these prevalent viruses belong to the Y280-like lineage and that the internal genes are highly similar to those of recently circulating human H7N9 viruses. The receptor-binding assay showed that most of the H9N2 isolates preferentially bound to the human-like receptor, increasing the risk of them crossing the species barrier and causing human infection. Our in vitro, multi-step growth curve results indicate these viruses can effectively replicate in mammalian cells. Infection in mice showed that three viruses effectively replicated in the lung of mice. Infection in swine revealed that the viruses readily replicated in the upper respiratory tract of pig and effectively induced viral shedding. Our findings suggested that the H9N2 AIVs circulating in poultry recently acquired an enhanced ability to transmit from avian to mammalians, including humans. Based on our findings, we propose that it is essential to strengthen the efforts to surveil and test the pathogenicity of H9N2 AIVs. View Full-Text
Keywords: influenza A virus; H9N2; replication; pathogenicity; receptor; pigs influenza A virus; H9N2; replication; pathogenicity; receptor; pigs
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MDPI and ACS Style

Sun, H.; Lin, J.; Liu, Z.; Yu, Y.; Wu, M.; Li, S.; Liu, Y.; Feng, Y.; Wu, Y.; Li, M.; Jiao, P.; Luo, K.; Liao, M. Genetic, Molecular, and Pathogenic Characterization of the H9N2 Avian Influenza Viruses Currently Circulating in South China. Viruses 2019, 11, 1040.

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