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Wellcome Trust - Cambridge Centre for Global Health Research


Forecasting the Change in Influenza Viruses


Professor Derek Smith and his research group is developing methods of antigenic mapping – or forecasting how the influenza viruses may change over time.

Influenza antigenic mapping could improve the vaccine’s match to evolving H5N1 and other potential pandemic influenza viruses so that vaccines generate protective immune responses not only to currently circulating influenza viruses, but also to newly emerging ones. The H5N1 virus is found in birds and occasionally is transmitted from birds to humans. The project is funded for five years.

Derek Smith is Professor of Infectious Disease Informatics and leads an interdisciplinary team of researchers at the Centre. Working with computational, mathematical and laboratory tools for pathogen surveillance and evaluation, the Centre provides essential support to WHO activities in influenza vaccine strain selection, and emergency response for time-critical public health.



1. Katzelnick LC, Fonville JM, Gromowski GD, Arriaga JB, Green A, James SL, Lau L, Montoya M, Wang C, VanBlargan LA, Russell CA, Thu HM, Pierson TC, Buchy P, Aaskov JG, Muñoz-Jordán JL, Vasilakis N, Gibbons RV, Tesh RB, Osterhaus AD, Fouchier RA, Durbin A, Simmons CP, Holmes EC, Harris E, Whitehead SS, Smith DJ. Dengue viruses cluster antigenically but not as discrete serotypes. Science, 2015 Sep 18;349(6254):1338-43. doi: 10.1126/science.aac5017.

2. Bedford T, Riley S, Barr IG, Broor S, Chadha M, Cox NJ, Daniels RS, Gunasekaran C, Hurt AC, Kelso A, Klimov A, Lewis NS, Li X, McCauley JW, Odagiri T, Potdar V, Rambaut A, Shu Y, Skepner E, Smith DJ, Suchard MA, Tashiro M, Wang D, Xu X, Lemey P, Russell CA. Global circulation patterns of seasonal influenza viruses vary with antigenic drift. Nature. 2015 Jul 9; 523(7559):217-20. doi: 10.1038/ nature14460. Epub 2015 Jun 8.

3. Fonville, JM; Wilks, SH; James, SL; Fox, A; Ventresca, M; Aban, M; Xue, L; Jones, TC; Le, NMH; Pham, QT; Tran ND; Wong, Y; Mosterin, A; Katzelnick, LC; Labonte, D; Le, TT; van der Net, G; Skepner, E; Russell, CA; Kaplan, TD; Rimmelzwaan, GF; Masurel, N; de Jong, JC; Palache, A; Beyer, WEP; Le, QM; Nguyen, TH;  Wertheim, HFL; Hurt, AC; Osterhaus, ADME; Barr, IG; Fouchier, RAM; Horby, PW; Smith, DJ. Antibody landscapes after influenza virus infection or vaccination. Science 21 November 2014: 346 (6212): 996-1000; DOI: 10.1126/science.1256427.


Related websites

Welcome to the Centre for Pathogen Evolution

Vaccines: Forecasting the Change in Influenza Viruses

Evolution of Influenza Viruses

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The Centre supports collaborative partnerships and scientific training activities in basic biomedical and health-related research. This is achieved through coordinated cross-faculty research across departments and research institutes in Cambridge including The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

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