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Open AccessArticle

In Vivo Characterization of Avian Influenza A (H5N1) and (H7N9) Viruses Isolated from Canadian Travelers

by Yao Lu 1,2,†, Shelby Landreth 1,3,†, Amit Gaba 1, Magda Hlasny 1, Guanqun Liu 1,3, Yanyun Huang 4 and Yan Zhou 1,2,3,*
Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization - International Vaccine Centre (VIDO-InterVac), University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5E3, Canada
Department of Veterinary Microbiology, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5B4, Canada
Vaccinology & Immunotherapeutics program, School of Public Health, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 2Z4, Canada
Prairie Diagnostic Services Inc., Saskatoon, SK S7N 5B4, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Viruses 2019, 11(2), 193;
Received: 22 January 2019 / Revised: 19 February 2019 / Accepted: 20 February 2019 / Published: 23 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue CSV2018: The 2nd symposium of the Canadian Society for Virology (CSV))
Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 and low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) H7N9 viruses pose a severe threat to public health through zoonotic infection, causing severe respiratory disease in humans. While HPAI H5N1 human infections have typically been reported in Asian countries, avian H7N9 human infections have been reported mainly in China. However, Canada reported a case of fatal human infection by the HPAI H5N1 virus in 2014, and two cases of human illness associated with avian H7N9 virus infection in 2015. While the genomes of the causative viruses A/Alberta/01/2014 (H5N1) (AB14 (H5N1)) and A/British Columbia/1/2015 (H7N9) (BC15 (H7N9)) are reported, the isolates had not been evaluated for their pathogenicity in animal models. In this study, we characterized the pathogenicity of AB14 (H5N1) and BC15 (H7N9) and found that both strain isolates are highly lethal in mice. AB14 (H5N1) caused systemic viral infection and erratic proinflammatory cytokine gene expression in different organs. In contrast, BC15 (H7N9) replicated efficiently only in the respiratory tract, and was a potent inducer for proinflammatory cytokine genes in the lungs. Our study provides experimental evidence to complement the specific human case reports and animal models for evaluating vaccine and antiviral candidates against potential influenza pandemics. View Full-Text
Keywords: influenza A virus; H5N1; H7N9; pathogenesis in mice influenza A virus; H5N1; H7N9; pathogenesis in mice
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Lu, Y.; Landreth, S.; Gaba, A.; Hlasny, M.; Liu, G.; Huang, Y.; Zhou, Y. In Vivo Characterization of Avian Influenza A (H5N1) and (H7N9) Viruses Isolated from Canadian Travelers. Viruses 2019, 11, 193.

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