New Flu Findings Could Lead to Better Vaccines

A study published in the online journal Biology Direct on Oct. 26 by researchers from the National Library of Medicine’s National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and NIH’s Fogarty International Center, questions the common view that the influenza virus evolves rapidly in a “selection-driven” process. Instead, say the study authors (Yuri Wolf, PhD, NCBI; Cecile Viboud, PhD, Fogarty International Center; Edward Holmes, PhD, Fogarty International Center and Pennsylvania State University; Eugene Koonin, PhD, NCBI; and David Lipman, MD, NCBI), the virus evolves through periods of stasis that permit proliferation of many small groups of related viruses, any one of which could become the next dominant flu virus to sweep through the human population. The findings could lead to better flu vaccines.