WHO Mis-statements in D225G and H274Y Raise Concerns
Recombinomics Commentary 21:31
November 27, 2009
Preliminary tests reveal no significant changes in the pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus based on investigations of samples taken from patients in Ukraine. Analyses are being performed by two WHO influenza collaborating centres as part of the global influenza surveillance network.
Preliminary genetic sequencing shows that the virus is similar to the virus used for production of the pandemic influenza vaccine, reconfirming the vaccine's efficacy at this time.
The above WHO comments in their latest Ukraine outbreak update are unfortunate. The comments were made after sequences had been generated which showed that four of four fatal cases in Ukraine had the receptor binding domain change D225G. This change had been predicted because it is the type of change expected for the large number of deaths which were linked to the rapid destruction of both lungs. D225G had been identified in 1918 and 1919 lung samples from fatal infections and analysis of the change identified a change in receptor binding specificity, which included alpha 2,3 receptors found on human lung epithelium. The failure of WHO to consider such a change significant raises serious concerns about the agency's credibility and scientific underpinnings.
Moreover position 225 is in one of the known antigenic sites, so to declare a confirmation of vaccine efficiency was false. H1N1 sequences with three changes at position 225 (D225G, D225E, and D225N) had already been reported and D225N on H3N2 was associated with the fixing of S31N (Adamantane resistance) in seasonal H3N2. Thus, a change at that position did not confirm the efficiency of the vaccine and the characterization sheet for one of the four sequences from the fatal cases was just declared a "low reactor" indicating the efficacy of the vaccine was not confirmed and the cause was likely to be D225G since it is the only non-synonymous HA change on the Ukraine sequences from fatal cases.
The failure of WHO to correctly report on the receptor binding domain after the sequences had been generated destroys confidence in the agency at a most crucial time. In addition to targeting of the lungs and a reduction in vaccine efficiency,Tamiflu resistance is on the rise and one of the fatal D225G cases in France also has H274Y, raising concerns at a time when WHO is posting situation updates which are not credible.
They then compound this lack or credibility by claiming that the D225G, which is four unrelated cases in Western Ukraine are "spontaneous" which is also the characterization of oseltamivir resistance, H274Y. These claims have no scientific basis and are simply absurd.
These statements by WHO, at a time of extremely peril, are both scandalous and hazardous to the world's health.