Understanding animal health threats from emerging H5 high pathogenicity avian influenza viruses

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: School of Veterinary Medicine and Sci


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Technical Summary

The UK poultry industry is experiencing severe socio-economic damage and threats from high pathogenicity avian influenza viruses (HPAIVs) H5Nx of clade These viruses pose zoonotic infections risks. The rapid evolution of these viruses is modulating their biological behaviour (epidemiology, host-range, transmission, and pathogenesis) in different avian species. To determine potential risks and improve controls against these emerging and re-emerging viruses requires a comprehensive knowledge base about the nature of prevailing viruses, and an integrated cross-disciplinary approach to studying virus ecology and epidemiology based on understanding virus/host interactions, and the genetic determinants of virulence, transmissibility and antigenicity in wild birds/poultry.

This project will investigate how contemporary H5Nx HPAIVs acquire adaptive changes to increase fitness within domestic and wild avian populations. We will define viral and host factors that potentially contribute to increased transmissibility, persistence, and pathogenicity in wild birds and those that enhance their potential to disseminate and manifest disease in poultry. Evolutionary changes drive virological, immunological and zoonotic infection potential of these viruses therefore, our understanding of environmental and molecular correlates required or associated with successful evolution, immune escape, dissemination and maintenance of HPAIVs via migratory populations of wild birds will be developed. Furthermore, we will define molecular markers for successful interspecies transmission and fitness in poultry with severe clinical outcomes. The will provide insights for assessing threats from new and emerging strains, enabling national and international agencies to design and execute contingencies as part of risk mitigation and disease control. This will provide vital information when considering how to invest scarce resources for surveillance design aimed at early warning of the threat.


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Description We have evidence to indicate that human neuronal cells are susceptible to highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 virus infection.
Exploitation Route We need to continue with ongoing studies to come to a more complete set of findings.
Sectors Agriculture

Food and Drink


Title Airborne transmission of human-isolated avian H3N8 influenza virus between ferrets 
Description Genetic variation data derived from ferret transmission experiments of avian H3N8 influenza viruses. Supplementary Dataset 1. Genetic variation data derived from ferret transmission experiment of HN/4-10 virus. Supplementary Dataset 2. Genetic variation data derived from ferret transmission experiment of CS/1000 virus. Supplementary Dataset 3. Genetic variation data derived from ferret transmission experiment of CK/FE12 virus. Supplementary Dataset 4. Genetic variation data derived from ferret transmission experiment of CK/F0316 virus. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2023 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This papers identified a new zoonotic threat of avian H3N8 virus to humans. 
URL https://zenodo.org/record/8191338
Title SRSF5-mediated alternative splicing of M gene is essential for influenza A virus replication: a host-directed target against influenza virus. 
Description Peer reviewed paper. https://doi.org/10.1002/advs.202203088 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2022 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The paper describes a novel host factor SRSF5 that facilitates influenza virus replication. 
URL https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/advs.202203088