Influenza Virus Net is the web resource for anyone interested in influenza and flu pandemics. The objectives of Influenza Virus Net are to be the public and professional information resource for influenza and to serve as a network in the exchange of information and news related to influenza.
Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is an infectious disease caused by RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae (the influenza viruses), that affects humans, birds and other mammals. The virus spreads easily from person to person. Influenza circulates worldwide and can affect anybody in any age group. Influenza causes annual epidemics that peak during winter in temperate regions. Influenza is a serious public health problem that causes severe illnesses and deaths for higher risk populations. The most common symptoms of the disease are chills, fever, sore throat, muscle pains, severe headache, coughing, weakness/fatigue and general discomfort. Sore throat, fever and coughs are the most frequent symptoms. In more serious cases, influenza causes pneumonia, which can be fatal, particularly for the young and the elderly. An influenza epidemic can take an economic toll through lost workforce productivity, and strain health services. Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent infection.
- Central Texas sees unusual uptick in flu-like cases - KVUE
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 02:59:
- Immunogenicity of a Monovalent 2009 Influenza A (H1N1) Vaccine in Infants ... - 7thSpace Interactive (press release)
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 00:16:
- Free flu vaccination for Tamworth children aged 11 to 13 - Tamworth Herald
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 19:09:
- Doctors Getting A Head Start On Upcoming Flu Season - news9.com KWTV
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 22:03:
- Key narcolepsy–influenza vaccine findings retracted - Science Now
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 18:37:
- Flu vaccines may reduce strain on practices and A&E - Nursing in Practice
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 16:17:
- Thousands to get nasal spray flu vaccine - The Northern Echo
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 16:38:
- Influenza: How the Great War helped create the greatest pandemic ever known - The Guardian
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 16:22:
- Positive Results For BiondVax's Avian Flu Vaccine - NoCamels - Israeli Innovation News
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 10:20:
- Staffordshire children to be given flu vaccinations - Burton Mail
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 08:11:
- Structural basis of glycan interaction in gastroenteric viral pathogens.
Venkataram Prasad B, Shanker S, Hu L, et al. Structural basis of glycan interaction in gastroenteric viral pathogens. [REVIEW]Curr Opin Virol 2014 Jul 26.:119-127.A critical event in the life cycle of a virus is its initial attachment to host cells. This involves recognition by the viruses of specific receptors on the cell surface, including glycans. Viruses typically exhibit strain-dependent variations in recognizing specific glycan receptors, a feature that contributes significantly to cell tropism, host specificity, host adaptation and interspecies transmission. Examples include influenza viruses, noroviruses, rotaviruses, and parvoviruses. Both rotaviruses and noroviruses are well known gastroenteric pathogens that are of significant global health concern. While rotaviruses, in the family Reoviridae, are the major causative agents of life-threatening diarrhea in children, noroviruses, which belong to the Caliciviridae family, cause epidemic and sporadic cases of acute gastroenteritis across all age groups. Both exhibit enormous genotypic and serotypic diversity. Consistent with this diversity each exhibits strain-dependent variations in the types of glycans they recognize for cell attachment. This chapter reviews the current status of the structural biology of such strain-dependent glycan specificities in these two families of viruses.
- Superior In Vitro Stimulation of Human CD8+ T-Cells by Whole Virus versus Split Virus Influenza Vaccines.
Halbroth BR, Heil A, Distler E, et al. Superior In Vitro Stimulation of Human CD8+ T-Cells by Whole Virus versus Split Virus Influenza Vaccines. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]PLoS One 2014; 9(7):e103392.Pandemic and seasonal influenza viruses cause considerable morbidity and mortality in the general human population. Protection from severe disease may result from vaccines that activate antigen-presenting DC for effective stimulation of influenza-specific memory T cells. Special attention is paid to vaccine-induced CD8+ T-cell responses, because they are mainly directed against conserved internal influenza proteins thereby presumably mediating cross-protection against circulating seasonal as well as emerging pandemic virus strains. Our study showed that influenza whole virus vaccines of major seasonal A and B strains activated DC more efficiently than those of pandemic swine-origin H1N1 and pandemic-like avian H5N1 strains. In contrast, influenza split virus vaccines had a low ability to activate DC, regardless which strain was investigated. We also observed that whole virus vaccines stimulated virus-specific CD8+ memory T cells much stronger compared to split virus counterparts, whereas both vaccine formats activated CD4+ Th cell responses similarly. Moreover, our data showed that whole virus vaccine material is delivered into the cytosolic pathway of DC for effective activation of virus-specific CD8+ T cells. We conclude that vaccines against seasonal and pandemic (-like) influenza strains that aim to stimulate cross-reacting CD8+ T cells should include whole virus rather than split virus formulations.
- Demonstrating the Use of High-Volume Electronic Medical Claims Data to Monitor Local and Regional Influenza Activity in the US.
Viboud C, Charu V, Olson D, et al. Demonstrating the Use of High-Volume Electronic Medical Claims Data to Monitor Local and Regional Influenza Activity in the US. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]PLoS One 2014; 9(7):e102429.Fine-grained influenza surveillance data are lacking in the US, hampering our ability to monitor disease spread at a local scale. Here we evaluate the performances of high-volume electronic medical claims data to assess local and regional influenza activity.We used electronic medical claims data compiled by IMS Health in 480 US locations to create weekly regional influenza-like-illness (ILI) time series during 2003-2010. IMS Health captured 62% of US outpatient visits in 2009. We studied the performances of IMS-ILI indicators against reference influenza surveillance datasets, including CDC-ILI outpatient and laboratory-confirmed influenza data. We estimated correlation in weekly incidences, peak timing and seasonal intensity across datasets, stratified by 10 regions and four age groups (<5, 5-29, 30-59, and 60+ years). To test IMS-Health performances at the city level, we compared IMS-ILI indicators to syndromic surveillance data for New York City. We also used control data on laboratory-confirmed Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) activity to test the specificity of IMS-ILI for influenza surveillance.Regional IMS-ILI indicators were highly synchronous with CDC's reference influenza surveillance data (Pearson correlation coefficients rho≥0.89; range across regions, 0.80-0.97, P<0.001). Seasonal intensity estimates were weakly correlated across datasets in all age data (rho≤0.52), moderately correlated among adults (rho≥0.64) and uncorrelated among school-age children. IMS-ILI indicators were more correlated with reference influenza data than control RSV indicators (rho = 0.93 with influenza v. rho = 0.33 with RSV, P<0.05). City-level IMS-ILI indicators were highly consistent with reference syndromic data (rho≥0.86).Medical claims-based ILI indicators accurately capture weekly fluctuations in influenza activity in all US regions during inter-pandemic and pandemic seasons, and can be broken down by age groups and fine geographical areas. Medical claims data provide more reliable and fine-grained indicators of influenza activity than other high-volume electronic algorithms and should be used to augment existing influenza surveillance systems.
- The Southwest Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Center and the Oklahoma Inter Tribal Emergency Management Coalition: A Unique Partnership.
Chief VT, Burton TP, Campbell J, et al. The Southwest Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Center and the Oklahoma Inter Tribal Emergency Management Coalition: A Unique Partnership. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]J Public Health Manag Pract 2014 September/October.:S107-S110.Oklahoma is home to 39 Native American tribes, so the issue of tribal sovereignty had to be addressed before tribes, local, and state preparedness officials could work together successfully. We describe the unique partnership that was established when the Southwest Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Center (SWPERLC) began working with tribes which led to the development of a tribal emergency management coalition.The SWPERLC established a formal partnership with tribal emergency managers and a 501(c)3 coalition was formed. The SWPERLC sponsors annual summits and attends and/or hosts monthly meetings, offering education and training opportunities year-round.One example of a lesson learned resulted from a pandemic influenza survey administered to Oklahoma tribes. We learned that 40% of those Native Americans surveyed who chose not be vaccinated were concerned with side effects. Our evidence showed that improved public health conversations regarding the safety of vaccines must be had with the Native American community.Because of all the activities that were completed we now better understand how state and local preparedness officials can more successfully and beneficially work with tribes. Persistence, patience, and dedication were key factors highlighted during the formation of the coalition. Mutual respect and trust have allowed and will allow this partnership to continue.
- Detection of H3N2 canine influenza virus using a Quartz Crystal Microbalance.
Kim YK, Lim SI, Cho YY, et al. Detection of H3N2 canine influenza virus using a Quartz Crystal Microbalance. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]J Virol Methods 2014 Jul 26.Label-free technology-based Quartz Crystal Microbalance (QCM) is an emerging tool in biological research. In this study, QCM was applied successfully for the rapid diagnosis of H3N2 canine influenza virus (CIV) infection. ProLinker™ B, a calixcrown derivative, enables antibodies to be attached to a gold-coated quartz surface and positioned in a regular pattern with the correct orientation. The ProLinker-coated quartz-based assay detected H3N2 CIV at lower concentrations (2(2) HA unit) than a commercial immunochromatography Ag kit (2(3) HA unit). Three independent experiments in which H3N2 CIV-positive reference samples were applied to an anti-CIV nucleoprotein (NP) monoclonal antibody immobilized on a quartz surface yielded standard deviations (SD) of ≤ 5%, indicating high reproducibility. In addition, the QCM assay with a cut-off value (-140Hz) showed 97.1% (34/35) sensitivity and 94.7% (36/38) specificity in testing 73 field saliva samples, respectively. Thus, the QCM assay described herein will be a valuable tool for the rapid diagnosis of H3N2 CIV infection with high sensitivity and specificity, and should overcome several of the disadvantages and limitations inherent in the commercial immunochromatography Ag kit.
- Every breath you take: the impact of environment on resident memory CD8 T cells in the lung.
Shane HL, Klonowski KD Every breath you take: the impact of environment on resident memory CD8 T cells in the lung. [Journal Article, Review]Front Immunol 2014.:320.Resident memory T cells (TRM) are broadly defined as a population of T cells, which persist in non-lymphoid sites long-term, do not re-enter the circulation, and are distinct from central memory T cells (TCM) and circulating effector memory T cells (TEM). Recent studies have described populations of TRM cells in the skin, gut, lungs, and nervous tissue. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the specific environment in which the TRM reside can further refine their phenotypical and functional properties. Here, we focus on the TRM cells that develop following respiratory infection and reside in the lungs and the lung airways. Specifically, we will review recent studies that have described some of the requirements for establishment of TRM cells in these tissues, and the defining characteristics of TRM in the lungs and lung airways. With continual bombardment of the respiratory tract by both pathogenic and environmental antigens, dynamic fluctuations in the local milieu including homeostatic resources and niche restrictions can impact TRM longevity. Beyond a comprehensive characterization of lung TRM cells, special attention will be placed on studies, which have defined how the microenvironment of the lung influences memory T cell survival at this site. As memory T cell populations in the lung airways are requisite for protection yet wane numerically over time, developing a comprehensive picture of factors which may influence TRM development and persistence at these sites is important for improving T cell-based vaccine design.
- Neuraminidase Inhibitors from the Fermentation Broth of Phellinus linteus.
Hwang BS, Lee MS, Lee SW, et al. Neuraminidase Inhibitors from the Fermentation Broth of Phellinus linteus. [Journal Article]Mycobiology 2014 Jun; 42(2):189-92.During a search for neuraminidase inhibitors derived from medicinal fungi, we found that the fermentation broth of Phellinus linteus exhibited potent neuraminidase inhibitory activity. Through bioassay-guided fractionation, two active compounds were purified from the ethyl acetate-soluble portion of the fermentation broth of P. linteus. These structures were identified as inotilone (1) and 4-(3,4-dihydroxyphenyl)-3-buten-2-one (2) by spectroscopic methods. Compounds 1 and 2 inhibited H1N1 neuraminidase activity with IC50 values of 29.1 and 125.6 µM, respectively, in a dose-dependent manner. They also exhibited an antiviral effect in a viral cytopathic effect reduction assay using MDCK cells. These results suggest that compounds 1 and 2 from the culture broth of P. linteus would be good candidates for the prevention and therapeutic strategies towards viral infections.
- Single-molecule FRET reveals a corkscrew RNA structure for the polymerase-bound influenza virus promoter.
Tomescu AI, Robb NC, Hengrung N, et al. Single-molecule FRET reveals a corkscrew RNA structure for the polymerase-bound influenza virus promoter. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2014 Jul 28.The influenza virus is a major human and animal pathogen responsible for seasonal epidemics and occasional pandemics. The genome of the influenza A virus comprises eight segments of single-stranded, negative-sense RNA with highly conserved 5' and 3' termini. These termini interact to form a double-stranded promoter structure that is recognized and bound by the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RNAP); however, no 3D structural information for the influenza polymerase-bound promoter exists. Functional studies have led to the proposal of several 2D models for the secondary structure of the bound promoter, including a corkscrew model in which the 5' and 3' termini form short hairpins. We have taken advantage of an insect-cell system to prepare large amounts of active recombinant influenza virus RNAP, and used this to develop a highly sensitive single-molecule FRET assay to measure distances between fluorescent dyes located on the promoter and map its structure both with and without the polymerase bound. These advances enabled the direct analysis of the influenza promoter structure in complex with the viral RNAP, and provided 3D structural information that is in agreement with the corkscrew model for the influenza virus promoter RNA. Our data provide insights into the mechanisms of promoter binding by the influenza RNAP and have implications for the understanding of the regulatory mechanisms involved in the transcription of viral genes and replication of the viral RNA genome. In addition, the simplicity of this system should translate readily to the study of any virus polymerase-promoter interaction.
- Crucial role of PA in virus life cycle and host adaptation of influenza A virus.
Hu J, Liu X Crucial role of PA in virus life cycle and host adaptation of influenza A virus. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]Med Microbiol Immunol 2014 Jul 29.The PA protein is the third subunit of the polymerase complex of influenza A virus. Compared with the other two polymerase subunits (PB2 and PB1), its precise functions are less defined. However, in recent years, advances in protein expression and crystallization technologies and also the reverse genetics, greatly accelerate our understanding of the essential role of PA in virus infection. Here, we first review the current literature on this remarkably multifunctional viral protein regarding virus life cycle, including viral RNA transcription and replication, viral genome packaging and assembly. We then discuss the various roles of PA in host adaption in avian species and mammals, general virus-host interaction, and host protein synthesis shutoff. We also review the recent findings about the novel proteins derived from PA. Finally, we discuss the prospects of PA as a target for the development of new antiviral approaches and drugs.
- Comparison of a new transport medium with universal transport medium at a tropical field site.
Schlaudecker EP, Heck JP, MacIntyre ET, et al. Comparison of a new transport medium with universal transport medium at a tropical field site. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis 2014 May 21.Limited data are available in rural Honduran settings describing the etiology of respiratory infections, partially due to limited specimen transport. A new molecular transport media (MTM) preserves released nucleic acid at ambient temperature for later detection. Prospective surveillance was conducted in a Honduran clinic to identify 233 children less than 5 years of age presenting with respiratory symptoms. We obtained 2 nasopharyngeal samples and stored 1 in PrimeStore® MTM at room temperature and 1 in universal transport media (UTM) at -80 °C. The specimens were then transported to Cincinnati Children's Hospital and tested for 16 respiratory viruses using a multiplex PCR panel. The 2 specimen collection systems were similar for detecting the 4 most common viruses: influenza (Kappa = 0.7676, P < 0.0001), human metapneumovirus (Kappa = 0.8770, P < 0.0001), respiratory syncytial virus (Kappa = 0.6849, P < 0.0001), and parainfluenza (Kappa = 0.8796, P < 0.0001). These results suggest that clinical specimens transported via PrimeStore® MTM and UTM yield similar viral multiplex PCR results.