Scientists have developed influenza virus prediction models to help deal with new variant viruses

Influenza viruses change every year. If we can predict the evolution of the next influenza virus in advance, we can develop more targeted vaccines in advance. The new issue of Nature in the UK published such a research result. A new prediction model is expected to help people predict the characteristics of future influenza viruses.

The evolution of influenza virus is a complicated process, and its essence is the competition between different strains, the purpose is to be able to infect humans more effectively, and if you can predict which strain will win the next competition, you can predict the possibility in advance Prevention of popular new virus variants.

Researchers from the University of Cologne in Germany and Columbia University in the United States have selected the H3N2 influenza virus as the experimental object. The World Health Organization and other institutions have tracked this seasonal flu for more than 60 years. There is detailed information.

Researchers have discovered that this common influenza virus evolves every year, and this evolution process also follows the "survival of the fittest" principle. On the one hand, the virus must be "innovative", through mutation to avoid human immunity, on the other hand It is also better to maintain the characteristics of the virus itself, such a strain is the most "competitive".

According to the two criteria of "innovative" and "competitive", the researchers combined physics and computer science to analyze in detail the genomic characteristics of the H3N2 virus over the years and confirmed some indicators that help to judge the direction of the virus's evolution. An influenza virus prediction model has been established, which can predict the types of strains that may be prevalent next year.

However, the researchers also admit that, like other biological evolutions, the mutation process of viruses is extremely complicated, and this study only provides new ideas.

(Source: Science and Technology Daily)

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