Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Computer model for projecting severity of flu season

Date:
December 8, 2010
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
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.

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 December 8 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."

This research was supported by the Intramural Research Program of the NCBI/NLM/NIH and FIC/NIH.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Yuri I Wolf, Anastasia Nikolskaya, Joshua L. Cherry, Cecile Viboud, Eugene Koonin, and David J. Lipman. Projection of seasonal influenza severity from sequence and serological data. PLoS Currents: Influenza, 2010 December 3; 2: RRN1200

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Computer model for projecting severity of flu season." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 December 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101208142253.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2010, December 8). Computer model for projecting severity of flu season. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101208142253.htm
Public Library of Science. "Computer model for projecting severity of flu season." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101208142253.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) Nine-month-old Wyatt Scott was born with a rare disorder called congenital trismus, which prevents him from opening his mouth. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. 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