The possible combination of influenza strains H1N1 (high infectivity) and H5N1 (high lethality) is a matter of global concern (1, 2). Bioradar UK Ltd announced (3) first, that the Replikin Counts of the two virus strains have risen simultaneously, not seen previously. Additionally, the rise is to their highest levels in 50 years (H1N1, 16.7; H5N1, 23.3), and that clinical outbreaks of each strain are now occurring. These simultaneous conditions may increase the risk that the two virus strains might come into contact with each other more frequently, facilitating transfer of genomic material to form a hybrid.
In 2000, Replikins Ltd. scientists identified genomic sequences (Replikins). The protein translations of these sequences can be counted in the virus genome, per 100 amino acids (Replikin Count), by Replikins Bioradar™ software (4). Replikin Count was found to relate quantitatively to rapid replication of the virus, and to virus outbreaks. Replikins were found to be conserved for up to 93 years, shared between strains, and to play a central role in infection and in the host antibody response (4). This technology was found to predict virus outbreaks, not possible in the past. Initial "scout virus" outbreaks provide early warning which give time to plan public health measures, to manufacture and test more accurate vaccines for the coming outbreaks. For example, increases in H1N1 Replikin Counts in 2008 (5) predicted one year in advance the outbreak of the global 2009 H1N1 pandemic. Replikin Counts in 2010 (6) predicted the current H1N1 outbreaks in humans in 2011 now being reported in the Americas by the Pan American Health Organization (7) and in Chihuahua by the Minister of Health of Mexico (8) (6 deaths in 56 cases, 10.7% mortality). For H5N1, increases in virus Replikin Counts in 2006 (9,10) predicted lethal outbreaks in 2007 (82% mortality in humans), and the geographic site (Indonesia); and the H5N1 outbreaks which were predicted in 2010 (6) are now occurring in Egypt in 2011 (33.3% mortality) (11) and in Asia.
From 2003, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has formally reviewed Replikins' technology and influenza hemagglutinin Replikin epitopes. In preparation to meet the threatened combination of H1N1 and H5N1, and previously unpredictable single strain outbreaks, in 2008 Replikins Ltd. manufactured the first completely synthetic TransFlu™ Replikins Vaccine against the common influenza strains. In 2009, TransFlu™ was successful in blocking H5N1 in the first of its continuing independent trials in the U.S. and elsewhere (12). In 2009, NIH data (13) confirmed the conserved and strain-sharing central role of Replikins by the method of antibody validation; that is, inhibitory antibodies landed on and bound to Replikins epitopes. Now, in 2011, NIH's Director has announced (14) that NIH hopes to have a pan-influenza vaccine in 5 years. In contrast, based on the same Replikins epitopes, Replikins Synthetic TransFlu™ Vaccine was first prepared in 2008, exists now, was successful in its first trial (12), and is undergoing further testing.
Source: Replikins Ltd