Influenza Virus Resource
presents data obtained from the NIAID Influenza Genome Sequencing Project as well as from GenBank,
combined with tools for flu sequence analysis and annotation.
In addition, it provides links to other resources that contain flu sequences,
publications and general information about flu viruses.
|Flu epidemics cause morbidity and mortality worldwide. Each year in the USA, more than 200,000 patients are
admitted to hospitals because of influenza and there are approximately 36,000 influenza-related deaths.
Of the three types of influenza virus-A, B and C-the A and B types can cause flu epidemics. Influenza A virus is found in human
and many other animals. There are over 100 subtypes of Influenza A virus. All subtypes
have been found in wild birds, which are thought to be a natural reservoir of Influenza A virus and the source of influenza A viruses in all other animals.
For example, pigs may be infected with influenza A viruses from different species (e.g., ducks and humans) at the same time,
which may allow the genes of these viruses to mix, creating new variants of the hemagglutinin and/or neuraminidase proteins on the
surface of the virus (antigenic shift). If these variants spread to humans, then they would not be recognized by the immune
system, and so can cause seasonal epidemics of flu. In addition, flu viruses undergo mutations when they spread from place to
place, therefore introduce gradual changes in the hemagglutinin and/or neuraminidase proteins (antigenic drift). Each year, it is essential to identify new flu virus variants and produce vaccines against them to avoid flu epidemics.
|Influenza virus biology||
Influenza A virus particles.
Courtesy of Audray Harris, Bernard Heymann and Alasdair C. Steven, LSBR, NIAMS, NIH.
|Influenza viruses belong to the family Orthomyxoviridae. The viral particles are about 80-120 nm in diameter and can be spherical or pleomorphic. They have a lipid membrane envelope
that contains the two glycoproteins: hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA). These two proteins determine the subtypes of Influenza A
virus. There are 16 H subtypes and 9 N subtypes.
The Influenza A viral genome consists of eight, single negative-strand RNAs that
can range between 890 and 2340 nucleotides long. Each RNA segment encodes one to two proteins. More about the replication of Influenza A virus...