Boston, MA (PRWEB) February 11, 2008
Replikins Ltd. announced that the quantitative analysis of Replikin Count™ in the virus gene structure predicts that the current H5N1 cycle is over. Sporadic outbreaks may continue, but the rapid epidemic spread and high mortality characteristics are expected to subside - until the next rapid replication cycle of this or another influenza virus strain begins.
140,000 virus protein sequences were analyzed by FluForecast® software in this study. A key gene, the Replikin Peak Gene, was found to contain the highest concentration of replikins in the virus genome. In H5N1 reservoirs in chickens, the Replikin count has now decreased markedly, successively each year from 2004 to 2007. The Replikin count in human H5N1 also has decreased in the past year. All stated increases and decreases were statistically significant with a p value of less than 0.001.
The current H5N1 cycle of bird flu began in 1996 with a pre-symptomatic increase in the Replikin count, followed in 1997 by the Hong Kong outbreak, then by a decline in Replikin count in 1998-1999 with culling, followed by increases in the count in 2001 and 2004 providing advance warning of the further outbreaks which occurred in Asia. An increase in the Replikin count in human H5N1 in 2006 specifically predicted the increase in H5N1 lethality in humans, and that the first country to show this increase would be Indonesia. These predictions were proven correct in 2006-2007.
The last two influenza pandemics of 1957 (H2N2) and 1968 (H3N2), and the SARS outbreak of 2003, were also each preceded by an increase in the Replikin count, and in each case, a strain-specific decrease in the count several years later signalled that the cycle was over. Sporadic outbreaks of H3N2 for example have occurred thereafter, but the rapid epidemic spread and high mortality characteristics have not reappeared.
It has not been possible previously to predict in advance from changes in the structure of the virus the coming of epidemics or their cessation. This is now possible because of the discovery of the replikins, specific small peptide constituents of virus proteins whose concentration has been shown to be related quantitatively to rapid replication and epidemics.