Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

LIAI completes world's most comprehensive analysis on influenza virus data

05.01.2007
Study will help international scientific community combat seasonal and avian flu strains

Researchers from the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology (LIAI) announced today the results of a first of its kind study analyzing all published data worldwide on influenza A virus antibody and T cell epitopes.

Antibody and T cell epitopes are small sites on a virus that are the targets of the immune response, and they are critical for developing therapies and vaccines to combat infectious disease. The study, using information from a worldwide research database funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), provides an important tool for scientists seeking to develop vaccines and therapies against both seasonal and pandemic influenza strains, including the deadly H5N1 avian flu.

"This study shows what is currently known about influenza A virus epitopes -- what are the areas that are well covered in the current research and where are the holes in our knowledge," said Alessandro Sette, Ph.D., director of LIAI's Center for Infectious Disease and one of the study's authors. "From this information, the scientific community can determine areas where focus is needed going forward."

... more about:
»Antibody »Database »Epitope »H5N1 »LIAI »Wilson »avian »avian flu

The findings are being published online this week in a paper, "Antibody and T Cell Epitopes of Influenza A Virus – Knowledge and Opportunities" in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. LIAI researcher Huynh-Hoa Bui, Ph.D., was lead author on the paper.

The study looked at all scientific data on influenza A virus antibody and T cell epitopes published to date worldwide, drawing from the NIAID's Immune Epitope Database, a new worldwide scientific resource that went public last summer. LIAI researchers developed the database – which is the world's largest repository of scientific data on how the body's immune system responds to infectious agents -- under a $25 million contract awarded by the NIAID in 2004.

The database places particular emphasis on emerging infectious diseases, such as West Nile virus, along with those diseases considered potential bioterrorist threats. The database's influenza research was analyzed first due to the continuing problem of seasonal influenza and public health concerns over the possible spread of the H5N1 avian flu.

"The database marks the first time that all known antibody and T cell epitope information has been compiled in one place," said Sette, noting the searchable online database is freely available to scientists around the globe. "It gives researchers ways of sharing knowledge and information never available before. Previously, everyone did their own study, but would have no way of knowing if a particular epitope had been used one time, for example by a single individual responding to a single virus, or 100 different times. Now, scientists can search the database and find out all existing information on their particular topic. This will enable them to avoid unnecessary repetition and make faster progress toward new therapies and vaccines."

The database, publicly accessible at http://immuneEPITOPE.org, includes information culled from more than 100,000 separate research articles published over several decades, with the influenza information representing only a portion of the massive data set. "The influenza data shows that people have done a lot of work that gives important information as to how we respond to influenza virus," said Stephen Wilson, Ph.D., LIAI chief technology officer and project director of the database. "It also highlights those critical areas where we need to look further. The fact that we don't have a comprehensive vaccine for flu shows we have more work to do. This study shows us where we need to focus going forward."

For the influenza study, LIAI researchers analyzed information from 58 different influenza A virus strains, involving 600 different antibody and T cell epitopes. In particular, the LIAI scientists identified epitopes that were similar in many influenza strains. "This is important because the influenza virus continually changes requiring scientists to develop a new vaccine every year," Sette said. "If we can find shared epitopes, it may be possible to develop an influenza vaccine with greater cross protection for many different viruses." Sette said the study found hundreds of similar epitopes among the different virus strains. However, it remains to be seen whether these epitopes are similar enough to enable the successful development of a highly cross reactive influenza vaccine that would protect against many viruses. And, in fact, the study found only one epitope that has been published, which appears to be an ideal candidate for creating a multi-strain influenza vaccine.

Regarding gaps in knowledge of the way people respond to influenza, Wilson said two significant points emerged. "One concern is that most of the current influenza research is based on strains maintained in the lab, rather than wild influenza strains. Since we know the virus mutates, research needs to be done using influenza strains currently circulating in the population, so-called 'wild' strains, rather than using strains propagated in the lab. "

Secondly, Wilson noted that the analysis showed that most of the detailed studies were done in animal models, primarily mice, with very little data coming from studies with humans or birds. Only one of the antibody epitopes came from a human. "This is understandable given the ethical and health issues of testing a potential pathogen in humans," Wilson said. "However, based on this information, I think the research community will pursue data directly relevant to human immunity to influenza virus to close those critical gaps."

Regarding the dreaded H5N1 avian flu specifically, the information showed some important H5N1 epitopes currently being investigated. However, the number represented only a few of the 600 influenza virus epitopes in the database. "Given the concerns among the worldwide health community about this virus, I think this data gives timely assistance to much needed research in this area," Wilson said. He noted that such information is extremely valuable and shows how important the database can be for all researchers in determining their future research plans. "This study focused on influenza because it is a major illness that kills 36,000 Americans each year and global concerns over the possible spread of the H5N1 avian flu. In the future, database information on other infectious diseases can also be analyzed and used to good effect."

Bonnie Ward | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.liai.org

Further reports about: Antibody Database Epitope H5N1 LIAI Wilson avian avian flu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Immune Defense Without Collateral Damage
23.01.2017 | Universität Basel

nachricht The interactome of infected neural cells reveals new therapeutic targets for Zika
23.01.2017 | D'Or Institute for Research and Education

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis

23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

Electrocatalysis can advance green transition

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>