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Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Nov 22, 2023  3 months, 3 days, 1 hour, 41 minutes ago

BREAKING H5N1 News! Scientists Discover That Reassortant Event Has Occurred Involving The H5N1 Virus With New Variant Found In Renswoude, Netherlands

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BREAKING H5N1 News! Scientists Discover That Reassortant Event Has Occurred Involving The H5N1 Virus With New Variant Found In Renswoude, Netherlands
Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Nov 22, 2023  3 months, 3 days, 1 hour, 41 minutes ago
H5N1 News: In a recent and alarming development, scientists from the Wageningen Bioveterinary Research Institute at Wageningen University have identified a novel variant of the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus in Renswoude, Netherlands. This revelation adds a concerning layer to the ongoing global avian influenza outbreak that has persisted since 2021, affecting millions of birds and thousands of mammals worldwide.
The outbreak in Renswoude, detected on November 11, marked the emergence of a new strain of the H5N1 virus. Genetic analysis conducted by the Wageningen Bioveterinary Research (WBVR) revealed that, while the virus shares similarities with the H5N1 variant responsible for numerous poultry outbreaks since 2021, it possesses a distinctive genetic composition. Notably, a new segment known as PB1, derived from a low-pathogenic virus, has been incorporated into its genome through a process called reassortment.
The new variant has also been spotted in several dead wild ducks and geese found in the Netherlands since November. It is unclear as of yet if the reassortment of the PB1 segment has changed any properties of the virus, such as pathogenicity, transmissibility, severity, etc.
WBVR researcher Nancy Beerens, who heads the National Reference Laboratory for Avian Influenza, highlighted the significance of this genetic modification.
She told various H5N1 News outlets, "The virus in Renswoude has a new genetic composition but bears a strong resemblance to the virus that has caused many outbreaks since 2021." She also emphasized the potential impact of this new variant on the ongoing avian influenza crisis.
This revelation follows two other outbreaks subsequent to the Renswoude incident: one in poultry at a care farm in Middelie on November 14 and another at a petting farm in Zaandijk on November 15. These incidents underscore the urgency of understanding the characteristics and implications of the newly identified H5N1 variant.
The emergence of this variant raises concerns about its potential impact on poultry, as the genetic similarity to the H5N1 variant responsible for prior outbreaks in 2021-2023, combined with its presence in wild ducks and geese, suggests a heightened risk. The virus has already been detected in several dead wild birds since November, prompting genetic analyses by WBVR. The findings indicate that the new HPAI H5N1 variant has infected these wild birds, widening the scope of the outbreak beyond domestic poultry.
In a parallel development, the Wageningen Bioveterinary Research Institute disclosed that this summer, a different H5N1 genotype, BB, caused significant mortality among black-headed gulls and other gull species. However, the genetic analysis of the Renswoude variant rules out any connection to the three pieces of the gull virus genome found in the summer variant, which caused an outbreak at a laying farm in Biddinghuizen on July 24.
One critical aspect of the current situation is the uncertainty surrounding the pathogenicity and infectiousness of the new H5N1 variant to poultry. This knowledge gap e mphasizes the importance of implementing and reinforcing biosecurity measures on poultry farms to prevent and control the spread of the avian influenza virus.
Researchers are warning that the current H5N1 virus that has been circulating since 2021 is a different beast than the previous ones that they have encountered and the the more the virus is allowed to circulate, the more it's allowed to evolve and change.
In response to the escalating threat, the nationwide compulsory caging law was reinstated on November 14. This measure aims to mitigate the potential transmission of the virus and protect domestic poultry from infection. However, the effectiveness of these measures hinges on understanding the characteristics of the new variant and its potential to compromise biosecurity efforts.
As the global avian influenza outbreak persists, the discovery of this new H5N1 variant in Renswoude adds complexity to the ongoing efforts to curb the spread of the virus. Continued research, surveillance, and collaboration among scientists, health authorities, and the poultry industry are essential to unravel the mysteries of this emerging variant and devise effective strategies to safeguard both poultry and public health. The evolving nature of the avian influenza virus demands a proactive and coordinated response to prevent further escalation of this unprecedented crisis.
For the latest H5N1 News, keep on logging to Thailand Medical News.


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