Evolution, pathobiology and pandemic potential of swine influenza viruses

01 April 2017 → 31 March 2019
Federal funding: various
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Microbiology
    • Systems biology
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Laboratory medicine
    • Microbiology
    • Laboratory medicine
    • Laboratory medicine
    • Microbiology
swine influenza viruses
Project description

The main research questions and aims are:

-To maintain an up-to-date picture of the influenza virus subtypes and genotypes that are widespread in swine in Flanders; to compare the situation with that in other European countries, North America and Asia

-To compare currently circulating swine influenza viruses with those of the past, as well as with human influenza viruses

-Timely identification of new and emerging influenza viruses in pigs, as well as rapid detection of viral mutations or reassortment events in pigs

-To have a collection of viruses for applied and fundamental experimental research

-How does the increasing diversity of swine influenza viruses affect pathogenesis and virulence for the natural host?

-To examine the prevalence and titers of protective antibodies against antigenically diverse H1N1 and H1N2 swine influenza viruses from the major circulating lineages in people of different age categories

-To what extent does the pathogenesis of (swine) influenza viruses differ in swine, the ferret model and humans?

-Can the ferret transmission model be improved so as to give more reliable indications for the ability of swine influenza viruses to spread between humans via the air?

-Indications as to the determinants (e.g. amino acid signatures in the viral HA or specific genetic constellations/reassortants) of influenza virus adaptation to pigs and humans

-A more accurate assessment of the risk to public health of various swine influenza viruses