Spatiotemporal Genotype Replacement of H5N8 Avian Influenza Viruses Contributed to H5N1 Emergence in 2021/2022 Panzootic

Jinfeng Zeng, Fanshu Du, Linna Xiao, Honglei Sun, Lu Lu, Weipan Lei, Jialu Zheng, Lu Wang, Sicheng Shu, Yudong Li, Qiang Zhang, Kang Tang, Qianru Sun, Chi Zhang, Zhengwang Zhang, Samantha Lycett, Juan Pu, Yuelong Shu, George F. Gao, Xiangjun DuJinhua Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Since 2020, clade highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8 and H5N1 viruses have swept through continents, posing serious threats to the world. Through comprehensive analyses of epidemiological, genetic, and bird migration data, we found that the dominant genotype replacement of the H5N8 viruses in 2020 contributed to the H5N1 outbreak in the 2021/2022 wave. The 2020 outbreak of the H5N8 G1 genotype instead of the G0 genotype produced reassortment opportunities and led to the emergence of a new H5N1 virus with G1's HA and MP genes. Despite extensive reassortments in the 2021/2022 wave, the H5N1 virus retained the HA and MP genes, causing a significant outbreak in Europe and North America. Furtherly, through the wild bird migration flyways investigation, we found that the temporal-spatial coincidence between the outbreak of the H5N8 G1 virus and the bird autumn migration may have expanded the H5 viral spread, which may be one of the main drivers of the emergence of the 2020-2022 H5 panzootic.IMPORTANCESince 2020, highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 subtype variants of clade have spread across continents, posing unprecedented threats globally. However, the factors promoting the genesis and spread of H5 HPAI viruses remain unclear. Here, we found that the spatiotemporal genotype replacement of H5N8 HPAI viruses contributed to the emergence of the H5N1 variant that caused the 2021/2022 panzootic, and the viral evolution in poultry of Egypt and surrounding area and autumn bird migration from the Russia-Kazakhstan region to Europe are important drivers of the emergence of the 2020-2022 H5 panzootic. These findings provide important targets for early warning and could help control the current and future HPAI epidemics.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0140123
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number3
Early online date15 Feb 2024
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2024


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