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Mission and Planning

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  1. Guest Speaker

Nancy Cox, Ph.D., Influenza Branch, Division of Viral and Rickettsial Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Dr. Cox updated the audience on the activities of the CDC’s Influenza Branch and talked about how its work interfaces with NIH, FDA, and WHO activities. She identified the sections within the Branch and briefly commented about each section chief.

The Epidemiology Section has both national and international responsibilities. These responsibilities include: collecting and coordinating influenza surveillance data from the U.S.; assisting with global surveillance by reporting our information to WHO and helping countries set up surveillance systems; working closely with CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to coordinate the development and implementation of influenza prevention and control policies; and helping with pandemic preparedness planning.

The Strain Surveillance Section does serologic testing to determine whether the hemoagglutinin and neuraminidase of the influenza viruses in the vaccine match those of the viruses circulating. The Section is very involved with vaccine strain selection with its partners, including WHO, FDA, and industry.

The Molecular Genetics Section is responsible for sequencing the HH genes of H3H1 and influenza B viruses for vaccine strain selection and performing genetic characterization of primerase genes. This group is involved in molecular epidemiology of unusual influenza infections and pandemic influenza risk assessment.

The Immunology and Viral Pathogenesis Section has some public health responsibilities in pandemic preparedness. It is investigating the immunobiology of aging and the causes of decreased response to vaccines as people age. This group is also looking at the differences in the immune response to influenza infection and vaccination in the young versus the elderly.

The current challenges for the Influenza Branch are to: protect the U.S. from the pandemic threat of avian influenza, develop better national and global influenza surveillance, understand and reduce the impact of influenza in children and the elderly, and understand the basis of influenza virulence and transmissibility with particular focus on avian influenza viruses.

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Last Updated March 14, 2005