Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Early detection of highly pathogenic influenza viruses

22.06.2015

Multidisciplinary research team develops tool for the assessment of the pandemic risk of avian influenza viruses

Lack of appropriate drugs and vaccines during the influenza A virus (IAV) pandemic in 2009, the recent Ebola (EBOV) epidemic in West Africa, as well as the ongoing Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) outbreak demonstrates that the world is only insufficiently prepared for global attacks of emerging infectious diseases and that the handling of such threats remains a great challenge.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses of the H5N1-type represent one of the most serious threats for the human population. Although the virus has only occasionally been transmitted to humans yet, it results in diseases with a mortality rate of up to 60 percent.

There are indications for the H5N1 viruses’ mutation towards a more easy transmission to humans. This is especially true for Egypt, which could possibly become a potential epicenter of a new influenza pandemic. A better understanding of the molecular basis of the evolution of IAV is therefore of outmost importance for an early detection of highly pathogenic IAV and the efficient fight and control of possible epidemic or even pandemic outbreaks.

A multidisciplinary research team, including scholars from the Institute of Medical Virology at Justus Liebig University Giessen, has recently developed a tool, which is suitable to identify candidate pandemic influenza viruses circulating in animal hosts.

On the basis of a combined application of a computational technique (ISM) and experimental molecular virological methods, the research team from Germany and Serbia was able to develop and validate a new tool to predict possible biological effects resulting from naturally occurring mutations as they are found for example in H5N1 viruses in Egypt. Thus, the ISM technique can help to identify those influenza viruses circulating in animal hosts that could efficiently transmit to humans and therewith possess a possible pandemic potential.

The research team involves the Institute of Medical Virology (JLU), the Georg-Speyer-Haus — Institute for Tumor Biology and Experimental Therapy (Frankfurt am Main), the Robert-Koch-Institute, Division for HIV and other Retroviruses (Berlin) as well as the Centre for Multidisciplinary Research, Institute of Nuclear Sciences VINCA (Belgrade, Serbia).

In spite of various advances in the last years, there are still substantial gaps regarding the genetic information, epidemiology and pathobiology of H5N1-IAV in humans. “Our data opens the possibility to develop a new tool for the assessment of pandemic risks associated with specific influenza viruses”, says Prof. Dr. Stephan Pleschka (Institute of Medical Virology at JLU), leading author of the study. “It could thereby provide a better preparation against potential pandemics. This especially concerns the development of a pre-pandemic vaccine, which might add to the prevention of the negative impacts of newly emerging influenza viruses.”

Publication
"In silico prediction and experimental confirmation of HA residues conferring enhanced human receptor specificity of H5N1 influenza A viruses", by S. Schmier, A. Mostafa, T. Haarmann, N. Bannert, J. Ziebuhr, V. Veljkovic, U. Dietrich, S. Pleschka; published on 19th June 2015 in the journal “Scientific Reports” by the Nature Publishing Group.
DOI: 10.1038/srep11434

Contact
Prof. Dr. Stephan Pleschka
Institut für Medizinsiche Virologie
Biomedizinisches Forschungszentrum Seltersberg (BFS)
Schubertstrasse 81, 35392 Giessen, Germany
Phone: 0049 641 99-47750
E-Mail: stephan.pleschka@viro.med.uni-giessen.de

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.nature.com/scientificreports

Caroline Link | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information:
http://www.uni-giessen.de/

More articles from Interdisciplinary Research:

nachricht Bergamotene - alluring and lethal for Manduca sexta
21.04.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

nachricht How to color a lizard: From biology to mathematics
13.04.2017 | Université de Genève

All articles from Interdisciplinary Research >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>