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Novel Strategies Regarding Preparedness for the Pandemic Risk of Zoonotic H7 Subtype Influenza Virus

Rong Wei, Ying-Xue Sun, Ji-Ming Chen
Author Affiliation(s)
China Animal Health and Epidemiology Center, Qingdao, 266032, China
Corresponding Author(s)
Ji-Ming Chen (E-mail:;
Subject Areas
Epidemiology; Infectious diseases; Political science; Public health; Management; Medicine; Sociology; Veterinary medicine; Virology

The ongoing sporadic human infections of H7N9 subtype avian influenza virus in China have generated great global attention because the zoonotic virus is of distinct pandemic potential. It is highly desired to refine the preparedness strategies to manage the pandemic risk according to new epidemiological data and research findings. In this report, we propose four novel strategies regarding the pandemic preparedness. First, the influenza pandemic preparedness plans of many countries should be upgraded from the current phase-based ones to phase and severity-based ones. Second, the great value of mass vaccination during the pandemic emergency periods using live attenuated vaccines rather than conventional inactivated vaccines should be well recognized. Third, improvement of poultry biosecurity is superior to surveillance and culling in the control of the viral infections in poultry. Fourth, some dangerous research should be well monitored to minimize the possibility that a pandemic strain of H7 subtype influenza virus is generated through reverse genetics in a laboratory. These novel strategies can minimize the occurrence possibility of the potential disaster and mitigate the severity of the disaster in case it occurs. They are also applicable to the prevention and control of influenza pandemics caused by other zoonotic influenza viruses.

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