H5N1 strain from Alberta nurse resembles Chinese strain

Thursday, January 16, 2014
By Paul Martin

Complete genome sequence of H5N1 virus a research priority for national lab

Jan 15, 2014

Canadian scientists studying H5N1 bird flu virus samples taken from an Alberta woman who died with the infection say that so far it seems to resemble a Chinese strain.

Researchers at Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory and Alberta’s provincial laboratory isolated samples of the virus and are working on sequencing it.

They’re looking to see if the sequence is the same as previous ones in the search for clues to the Jan. 3 death.

“Based on the genome sequence data collected to date, researchers at the [National Microbiology Laboratory] have found it to be consistent with a previously circulating H5N1 strain from China,” a spokesperson said in an email Wednesday.

“The first research priority for the NML is to complete the whole genome sequence of the virus, and then analyze the data to learn more about the specific traits and characteristics of the virus. The genome analysis will help inform and guide all future research priorities.”

If the sample differs from previous samples, then researchers could take a closer look.

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