Researchers headed by Prof. GAO Fu in Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IMCAS) have accomplished a great deal in the project of cross-species infection and the pathogenic mechanism of animal-borne viruses, including bird flu virus and SARS virus (2005-2010).
The researchers first reported migratory birds infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza virus in Qinghai Lake, and continued to trace and investigate the infection for 5 years. Furthermore, in the light of bird migration routes,they confirmed the impact of bird migration during bird flu transmission and provided important reference data for research on animal-borne infectious diseases. In addition, various animal models were employed to carry out exploratory research into the molecular mechanisms of the pathogenicity of H5N1 bird flu in avian and mammals. They also made several key findings including revealing a series of key amino acid sites and molecular markers associated with bird flu pathogenicity and transmission, proving that avian influenza virus could infect the fetus through placental barrier, and demonstrating the infection and replication of the virus in human intestinal tract.
Moreover, they discovered the genetical diversity of SARS-like coronavirus in bats, confirming that bats were a natural host of SARS-like coronavirus and detect coronavirus infections in ocelot and ferret badger in Southern China. The research group also carried out surveillance into the neogenesis and outbursts of infectious diseases,made a rapid response to streptococcus suis, porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome and swine influenza using established technology platforms and furthermore supplies important scientific knowledge for disease prevention.
The research group consists of elite researchers from IMCAS, Institute of Zoology, CAS, Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology, Academy of Military Medical Science, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Institute of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine, Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences. The project is supported by National Program on Key Basic Research Project of China.
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