The avian influenza virus subtype H16N3 is currently detectable in many countries. To examine the potential threat to humans of H16N3, researchers recently performed an extensive avian influenza surveillance program in major wild bird gatherings across China from 2017-2019. The findings are published in Transboundary and Emerging Diseases.
The investigators isolated two H16N3 subtype influenza viruses that can bind to both human and avian-type cell receptors. They also found evidence that genetic material from other species has been introduced into the H16N3 avian influenza virus, which suggests that it may infect other species and could therefore pose a threat to animal and human health in the future.
“Consequently, it is necessary to increase monitoring of the emergence and spread of avian influenza subtype H16N3 in wild birds,” the authors wrote.