Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Early detection of highly pathogenic influenza viruses


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.”

"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

Prof. Dr. Stephan Pleschka
Institut für Medizinsiche Virologie
Biomedizinisches Forschungszentrum Seltersberg (BFS)
Schubertstrasse 81, 35392 Giessen, Germany
Phone: 0049 641 99-47750

Weitere Informationen:

Caroline Link | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information:

More articles from Interdisciplinary Research:

nachricht Lego-like wall produces acoustic holograms
17.10.2016 | Duke University

nachricht New evidence on terrestrial and oceanic responses to climate change over last millennium
11.10.2016 | University of Granada

All articles from Interdisciplinary Research >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Deep down fracking wells, microbial communities thrive

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

Scientists discover particles similar to Majorana fermions

25.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Phenotype at the push of a button

25.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>