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Life Technologies Establishes International Influenza Network
Date:1/29/2013

lion cases of severe illness and 250,000 to 500,000 deaths, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Pandemics caused by novel influenza strains can result in staggering death tolls; the "Spanish flu" of 1918 is believed to have killed 40 million people, or 3 percent of the global population, according to the WHO.

Each year, public health agencies around the world collect samples from infected individuals and share data about flu subtypes circulating in their regions. The pooled data are used by the WHO to determine the strains used to design a vaccine that will be effective against that year's epidemic. Costs of sequencing, however, have limited data set to about 20 percent of the patient samples collected.

"Using next generation sequencing technology makes whole influenza genome sequencing much easier, and much less expensive than older sequencing techniques, when used appropriately," said Glavas.

Scientists in the Global Influenza Network also believe that by sequencing all patient samples collected ahead of the flu season, they will be able to detect emerging strains earlier and focus resources on areas of the world where these strains are most prevalent in order to better contain new threats.

An additional benefit of semiconductor sequencing is the technologies' superior speed over conventional methods. Therefore, sequencing data can be collected in a smaller time window prior to vaccine production, which can also guide the production of vaccines so they more effectively target the strains most prevalent in the coming flu season.

"Now we can easily fully characterize influenza causing severe outbreaks," said Brytting.

Network Scientists Confirm Protocol's Accuracy and Economic

The current collaboration is a pilot program to evaluate the efficacy of influenza virus typing by semiconductor sequencing on Life Technologies' Ion Torrent platform, the Ion PGM™ sequencer. After implementing Life Technol
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SOURCE Life Technologies Corporation
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