Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mapping The Evolution Of A Virus

Date:
July 21, 2004
Source:
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Summary:
A new computer modeling method for mapping the evolution of the influenza virus could soon help medical researchers worldwide develop a better understanding of certain mutations in influenza and other viruses that allow diseases to dodge the human immune system.

July 20, 2004 -- A University of California scientist working at Los Alamos National Laboratory with collaborators from the University of Cambridge (England) and the World Health Organization National Influenza Center at Erasmus Medical Center, (Rotterdam, Netherlands) have developed a computer modeling method for mapping the evolution of the influenza virus. The method could soon help medical researchers worldwide develop a better understanding of certain mutations in influenza and other viruses that allow diseases to dodge the human immune system.

In a paper published in today's edition of the journal Science, the team of scientists from the United States and Europe describe their work quantifying and visualizing the antigenic and genetic evolution of the influenza A (H3N2) virus from its initial introduction into humans in 1968 up to 2003. The study resulted in a map that shows the virus evolved as a series of 11 closely related virus clusters as it has sought to elude human immunity over the decades.

The mapping method will allow researchers involved in vaccine development and viral surveillance programs for influenza, and potentially for other pathogens such as Hepatitis C and HIV as well, to quantify and visualize the evolution of these viruses. It can assist in monitoring antigenic differences among vaccine and circulating viral strains, and can help in quantifying the effects of vaccination. The approach also offers a route for predicting the relative infection success of emerging virus strains.

According to Los Alamos computational biologist Alan Lapedes, "This collaboration was particularly exciting because it involved close interaction between experts in computation and virology and medicine. Once we had created the map, we tested its reliability by making hundreds of predictions of how well certain strains might match up and then conducting laboratory tests to check the predictions. It's very gratifying that this basic research also has practical application to an important human pathogen, influenza."

Experts estimate that influenza epidemics cause an estimated 500,000 human deaths worldwide each year. Although antibodies provide protective immunity to influenza virus infection, the antigenic structure of proteins that stimulate immune responses changes significantly over time, a process known as antigenic drift, so in most years the influenza vaccine has to be updated to ensure sufficient efficacy against newly emerging variants.

In addition to Lapedes, the team members included Derek Smith from the University of Cambridge, and Ron Fouchi and his colleagues Jan de Jong, Theo Bestebroer, Guus Rimmelzwaan and Albert Osterhaus from National Influenza Center at Erasmus Medical Center.

Funding for the Los Alamos portion of the research was provided by the Los Alamos Laboratory-Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program. LDRD funds basic and applied research and development focusing on employee-initiated creative proposals selected at the discretion of the Laboratory director.

Los Alamos National Laboratory is operated by the University of California for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) of the U.S. Department of Energy and works in partnership with NNSA's Sandia and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories to support NNSA in its mission.

Los Alamos enhances global security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear deterrent, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to defense, energy, environment, infrastructure, health and national security concerns.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Los Alamos National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Los Alamos National Laboratory. "Mapping The Evolution Of A Virus." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 July 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/07/040721085329.htm>.
Los Alamos National Laboratory. (2004, July 21). Mapping The Evolution Of A Virus. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/07/040721085329.htm
Los Alamos National Laboratory. "Mapping The Evolution Of A Virus." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/07/040721085329.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) New findings suggest men with a certain type of baldness at age 45 are 39 percent more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins