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The NIAID influenza research program supports basic research to learn more about the structure and pathogenesis of influenza viruses—an understanding that is critical to the development of new vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.
Some basic research focuses on specific questions regarding the biology of the virus, such as how it enters cells, replicates, mutates, evolves into new strains, and induces an immune response. Other projects are more broadly applicable. For example, the NIAID Influenza Genome Sequencing Project is a collaborative effort to obtain the complete genetic sequences of thousands of human and avian influenza strains. NIAID is rapidly making the sequence information publicly available, giving researchers genomic knowledge that may lead to the development of new and improved public health countermeasures. As of November 2011, over 7600 human and avian isolates have been completely sequenced and made publicly available.
NIAID also supports the research community by developing new animal models for the preclinical evaluation of vaccine and therapeutic candidates, and provides researchers with important biological resources, such as microarrays, clones, peptides, and reagents.
In NIAID in-house laboratories, researchers are studying the pathogenesis, immunogenicity, transmissibility, and genetic variability of influenza viruses. They are also investigating host immune responses to flu viruses in animal models and in humans and developing vaccines to prevent influenza, especially strains with pandemic potential. For more information on these studies, see Influenza Research in NIAID Labs.
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Last Updated November 17, 2011