Genomic data shows swine flu infectivity will increase but lethality will remain low
16 June 2009
Boston-based biotech firm Replikins Ltd has analyzed the most recent peptide genomic sequence data available and determined that the infectivity of the H1N1 virus will increase markedly, while its lethality will remain relatively low for the immediate future.
The company's quantitative analysis of the most recent sequence data available on PubMed, a standard scientific repository for published papers, showed an increase of 46% in the Replikin Count* over the past five months.
This points to a marked increase in infectivity in humans. At the same time, while the total number of replikins has gone up significantly, their composition appears to have changed in a way that makes them more closely resemble their counterparts in earlier pandemics.
The firm, which had predicted a year ago the likelihood of the current H1N1 outbreak, used its proprietary FluForecast software program to make these determinations. "The dual differentiation of these properties may provide advance warning of the future course of H1N1," noted Samuel Bogoch MD PhD, chairman and founder of Replikins Ltd.
"Our understanding of the protein chemistry of rapid replication enables us to develop synthetic vaccines specifically tailored to destroy or restrict replication of the targeted virus strains prior to an outbreak."
Earlier this month, Replikins announced that it had succeeded in synthesizing the first H1N1 influenza vaccine, which is now ready for testing.
It used the same approach to produce a peptide H5N1 (avian flu) vaccine that successfully blocked low path H5N1. It has not previously been possible to correlate virus structures with a virus outbreak or cessation of outbreak, let alone to predict six to 12 months ahead of the outbreak or its cessation.
In 2001, Drs Samuel and Elenore Bogoch first demonstrated this correlation retrospectively for whole-organism replikin counts in outbreaks and pandemics of the common influenza strains over the past century.
* The company's vaccines and predictive tools are based on the company's discovery of a new group of peptides related to rapid replication called Replikins, whose increase in concentration in virus or other organism proteins (Replikin Count(TM) = number of replikins per 100 amino acids) is associated with rapid replication.
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