[Source: Science, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]
Published Online July 18 2013
Science DOI: 10.1126/science.1240532
H7N9 Influenza Viruses Are Transmissible in Ferrets by Respiratory Droplet
Qianyi Zhang1,2,*, Jianzhong Shi1,*, Guohua Deng1,*, Jing Guo1,*, Xianying Zeng1,*, Xijun He1, Huihui Kong1, Chunyang Gu1,2, Xuyong Li1, Jinxiong Liu1, Guojun Wang1,2, Yan Chen1, Liling Liu1, Libin Liang1, Yuanyuan Li1, Jun Fan1, Jinliang Wang1, Wenhui Li1, Lizheng Guan1, Qimeng Li1,2, Huanliang Yang1, Pucheng Chen1, Li Jiang1, Yuntao Guan1, Xiaoguang Xin1, Yongping Jiang1, Guobin Tian1, Xiurong Wang1, Chuanling Qiao1, Chengjun Li1, Zhigao Bu1, Hualan Chen1,2,†
Author Affiliations: 1State Key Laboratory of Veterinary Biotechnology, Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Harbin 150001, People’s Republic of China. 2College of Veterinary Medicine, Gansu Agricultural University, Lanzhou 730030, People’s Republic of China.
†Corresponding author. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
* These authors contributed equally to this work.
A newly emerged H7N9 virus has caused 132 human infections with 37 deaths in China since 18 February 2013. Control measures in H7N9 virus–positive live poultry markets have reduced the number of infections; however, the character of the virus, including its pandemic potential, remains largely unknown. We systematically analyzed H7N9 viruses isolated from birds and humans. The viruses were genetically closely related and bound to human airway receptors; some also maintained the ability to bind to avian airway receptors. The viruses isolated from birds were nonpathogenic in chickens, ducks, and mice; however, the viruses isolated from humans caused up to 30% body weight loss in mice. Most importantly, one virus isolated from humans was highly transmissible in ferrets by respiratory droplets. Our findings indicate nothing to reduce the concern that these viruses can transmit between humans.
Received for publication 15 May 2013. Accepted for publication 2 July 2013.