Navigation Links
Researchers devise computer model for projecting severity of flu season

Researchers have developed a statistical model for projecting how many people will get sick from seasonal influenza based on analyses of flu viruses circulating that season. The research, conducted by scientists at the National Institutes of Health, appears today in the open-access publication PLoS Currents: Influenza.

Building on other research that has shown that severity of infections with the Influenza A virus is related to its novelty (i.e., how much the virus has changed, or mutated, from prior seasons), the study evaluated the correlation between virus novelty and the epidemiologic severity of influenza from the 1993/1994 flu season through the 2008/2009 season. Virus novelty was assessed through analysis of genetic data (sequences of hemagglutinin proteins from virus samples) and serological data (hemagglutinin inhibition results). The research focused on H3N2 influenza, the influenza subtype responsible for the most severe influenza seasons during inter-pandemic periods.

The results showed that more than 90% of the variation in influenza severity over the periods studied could be explained by the novelty of the virus' hemagglutinin protein.

The researchers also assessed whether influenza sequence and serological data for viruses isolated in the Southern Hemisphere influenza season correlated with influenza severity that occurred in the later influenza season in the Northern Hemisphere. Results showed that the projections explained 66% of the variance in severity in the Northern Hemisphere.

The ability to accurately predict influenza severity suggests that with appropriate surveillance methods, scientists could make more informed decisions in planning for influenza, including the selection of vaccines. For example, in selecting a vaccine for the coming season, it would be helpful to know that one circulating virus in the current season was likely to produce much more severe influenza than the other circulating viruses.

Edward Holmes (The Pennsylvania State University), an expert on the evolution of flu viruses, and one of the Editors of PLoS Currents: Influenza commented: "this paper represents a major step forward in our ability to predict the behavior of influenza and simultaneously opens up a new field of study".


Contact: David Lipman
Public Library of Science

Related biology news :

1. NC State researchers get to root of parasite genome
2. Researchers find animal with ability to survive climate change
3. Researchers find an essential gene for forming ears of corn
4. Researchers note differences between people and animals on calorie restriction
5. Researchers study acoustic communication in deep-sea fish
6. Researchers discover that growing up too fast may mean dying young in honey bees
7. Researchers study how pistachios may improve heart health
8. UI researchers find potentially toxic substance present in Chicago air
9. Researchers develop new self-training gene prediction program for fungi
10. Case Western Reserve University researchers track Chernobyl fallout
11. Childrens National researchers develop novel anti-tumor vaccine
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/17/2015)... -- Vigilant Solutions announces today that Mr. Dick W. ... --> --> Mr. Boyce ... at TPG Capital, one of the largest global investment ... revenue.  He founded and led TPG,s Operating Group, which ... 1997 to 2013.  In his first role, he served ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... 2015  A golden retriever that stayed healthy despite ... has provided a new lead for treating this muscle-wasting ... Institute of MIT and Harvard and the University of ... Cell, pinpoints a protective gene that ... effects. The Boston Children,s lab of Lou Kunkel ...
(Date:11/11/2015)... , Nov. 11, 2015   MedNet Solutions , an ... of clinical research, is pleased to announce that it will ... Trials (PCT) event, to be held November 17-19 in ... to view live demonstrations of iMedNet , ... how iMedNet has been able to deliver time ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... 2015 ... Research Laboratories, a leading independent and ... has formed a strategic partnership with ... Health for joint work on clinical ... ) , --> ,     ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Studies reveal the differences in ... pave the way for more effective treatment for one of ...   --> --> Gum ... in cats, yet relatively little was understood about the bacteria ... been conducted by researchers from the WALTHAM Centre for Pet ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015 Orexigen® Therapeutics, ... will participate in a fireside chat discussion at the ... New York . The discussion is scheduled for ... .  A replay will be available ... Contact:McDavid Stilwell  , Julie NormartVP, Corporate Communications and ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015 Cepheid (NASDAQ: CPHD ... at the following conference, and invited investors to participate ...      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. ...      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. ... New York, NY      Tuesday, December ...
Breaking Biology Technology: