Chen said that the reports circulating about the strain are â€œsubjective and arbitraryâ€.
“The so-called ‘Fujian-like virus’ is not a new variant of the virus,” she said, “Gene sequence analysis of the virus shows that it shares high conformity with the H5N1 virus that was isolated in Hunan when bird flu broke out in early 2004.”
Samples from every domestic bird flu outbreak are sent for isolation and gene sequence analysis at Chen’s lab.
“These viruses all remain steady in gene type and there is no marked change in their biological characteristics,” she said.
Chen also defended the effectiveness of China’s bird flu vaccine, saying that it had a good effect, in response to the report’s surmise that the current vaccine was less effective for the “Fujian-like virus”.
“There is no proof that five of them were infected by a new mutated virus,â€ Shu said.
Image courtesy of 3dscience.com