Predicting the Future Evolution of a Human Influenza Virus
Walter M. Fitch (University of California-Irvine, USA)

Jeudi 19 juin 2003

The human influenza virus mutates rapidly in order to out-run the human immune surveillance system in the race to propagate before the immune system catches up to it and destroys it.

These amino acid replacements interfere with the immune system’s destruction of the virus. There are about 18 positions in a coat protein of the virus that are the principle target for change.

We suggested that the strain of influenza that has the most replacements in these positions was probably the farthest ahead of the immune system and thus a candidate for the great grandfather of all the future strains about four-five years from now.

This is important because it may help select the strain against which vaccine should be directed.