Research ArticleInfluenza

Evolution-informed forecasting of seasonal influenza A (H3N2)

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Science Translational Medicine  25 Oct 2017:
Vol. 9, Issue 413, eaan5325
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aan5325

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Foreseeing future flu

Although two strains of influenza A have been circulating globally for decades, these strains mutate quickly to try to escape host immunity. Many models exist to predict influenza seasons, but Du et al. have now incorporated evolutionary information to try to forecast upcoming H3N2 seasons in advance. After developing the model, they used it to predict that H3N2 in the pending 2016/2017 season will be at a higher incidence than has been seen recently and will involve substantial antigenic change in the hemagglutinin. Being able to predict this type of information could affect influenza countermeasures worldwide.