Influenza viruses are negative-stranded RNA viruses that cause significant human mortality and morbidity worldwide. The study of influenza epidemiology has profound significance for human health. In addition, influenza viruses offer a remarkable system for evolutionary study. Over the past two decades, the influenza A viral genome has undergone roughly the equivalent of 20 million years of mammalian evolution.
Influenza viral evolution depends, through frequency-dependent selection, upon influenza's epidemiology - that is, the patterns of host infection. Conversely, annual outbreaks of influenza depend upon the evolution of viral strains. Thus, an understanding of influenza viruses requires a synthetic approach combining both the evolution and the ecology of the pathogen.
This workshop will bring together experts who work on influenza from a range of viewpoints. In order to facilitate a synthesis of perspectives, the workshop will be organized around half-day sessions, each with one or two short talks followed by active discussion. The five primary topics of inquiry will be:
The workshop will also include a grab-bag section to discuss related issues such as variation in viral protein structure and relations between viral genotype and antigenic phenotype. Through short presentations and discussions that include all participants, the workshop aims to improve understanding of influenza viruses on the basis of mathematical modeling combined with molecular, epidemiological, and immunological data.
This working group is by invitation only.