Three citizens confirmed to have caught H7N9 bird flu in east China's Anhui Province and Shanghai from February to March in 2013, which ignited a new avian flu pandemic in China.
Studies on this disease have drawn Chinese research groups together to crack the origin, adaptive variation, structural features, clinical and epidemiological features of the virus. After clinical and epidemiological investigations, genome sequencing and alignment, phylogenetic analysis, structural biology, animal experiments, series of key breakthrough have been achieved.
The research elucidated the origin and recombination events of this novel virus, revealed its structural basis to infect humans and for drug resistance. Their research also showed that human-to-human transmission of the virus is possible under the right conditions.
Results of the studies were published in New England Journal of Medicine entitled "Human Infection with a Novel Avian-Origin Influenza A (H7N9) Virus"; Nature entitled "The genesis and source of the H7N9 influenza viruses causing human infections in China" and "Biological features of novel avian influenza A (H7N9) virus"; Science entitled "An Airborne Transmissible Avian Influenza H5 Hemagglutinin Seen at the Atomic Level", "Infectivity, Transmission, and Pathology of Human-Isolated H7N9 Influenza Virus in Ferrets and Pigs","H7N9 Influenza Viruses Are Transmissible in Ferrets by Respiratory Droplet", and "Structures and Receptor Binding of Hemagglutinins from Human-Infecting H7N9 Influenza Viruses"; and The Lancet entitled "Origin and diversity of novel avian influenza A H7N9 viruses causing human infection: phylogenetic, structural, and coalescent analyses", "Association between adverse clinical outcome in human disease caused by novel influenza A H7N9 virus and sustained viral shedding and emergence of antiviral resistance", "Human infection with avian influenza A H7N9 virus: an assessment of clinical severity", and "Comparative epidemiology of human infections with avian influenza A H7N9 and H5N1 viruses in China: a population-based study of laboratory-confirmed cases".