A pandemic happens when a novel influenza A virus is able to infect and transmit efficiently to a new, distinct host species. Although the exact timing of pandemics is uncertain, it is known that both viral and host factors play a role in their emergence. Species-specific interactions between the virus and the host cell determine the virus tropism. These include binding and entering cells, replicating the viral RNA genome within the host cell nucleus, assembling, maturing, and releasing the virus to neighbouring cells, tissues, or organs before transmitting it between individuals. Influenza has a vast and antigenically varied reservoir. In wild aquatic birds, the infection is typically asymptomatic. Avian influenza virus (AIV) can cross into new species, and occasionally, it can acquire the ability to transmit from human to human. A pandemic might occur if a new influenza virus acquires enough adaptive mutations to maintain transmission between people. This review highlights the key determinants AIV must achieve to initiate a human pandemic and describes how AIV mutates to establish tropism and stable human adaptation. Understanding the tropism of AIV may be crucial in preventing virus transmission in humans and may help design vaccines, antivirals and therapeutic agents against the virus.
influenza A virus; avian influenza virus; virus tropism in human; antiviral; vaccine
Biology and Life Sciences, Virology
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