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Researcher Combines Computers, Biology to Track Flu

Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2010, 6:15 p.m. EST

Researcher Combines Computers, Biology to Track Flu
Henry Wan DVM, MS, Ph.D. Photo by Tom Thompson

An assistant professor in systems biology at Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine has combined computers and biology to track animal flu viruses.

During graduate studies in China, Henry Wan, DVM, MS, Ph.D., became the first scientist to isolate the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus, according to MSU. Shortly after, highly pathogenic H5N1 outbreaks occurred in poultry in Asia, Europe and Africa.

More than 440 confirmed human cases across 15 countries were caused by the virus. About 60 percent of them were fatal.

“My research centers on influenza A viruses," Dr. Wan said. "Where they come from, why they change and how they spread.”

He developed computer programs that provide information on each one of the more than 20,000 viruses’ gene segments, according to MSU. The program displays each gene segment and a map showing the distances between the segments.

The information is used to determine how the segments relate to each other and group to form different influenza viruses, which are always changing, Wan said.

“The program aims to seek a better understanding of why they mutate and how they spread," he said. "Knowing this helps us more accurately predict when new viruses will arise.”

Wan and his research colleagues also want to find the environmental factors that affect the spread of viruses.

His long-term goal is to use research on influenza viruses for the development and production of vaccines. <HOME>

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Researcher Combines Computers, Biology to Track Flu

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Reader Comments
Drugs are not the answer and a great deal of people profited out of their push for vaccines
Ab Osterhaus, Declan Butler and Nature Magazine are all culpable in wanting the drug companies to sell billions of pounds worth of worthless swine flu/bird flu drugs. The European Union (EU) are currently investigating the motives behind the vast purchase of these drugs. They are all friends of the large pharmaceuticals. What they did not want to see was the alternative strategy to emerge of addressing the global threat at source.

For the only way to stop bird flu/Swine flu et al indefinitely is to address the problem at source and never let it happen in the first place. It is the only way.

LINK (your computer may prevent this download but I can assure you that it is perfectly safe to do so)


Otherwise it will one day come back with a vengeance and wipe out a quarter of humanity. The Spanish Flu that killed up to 100 million (a Swine flu variant) will then be seen as the minor event in the world’s history of global pandemics.

Funny how money always rises above human life itself !
Dr David Hill, Bern, NY
Posted: 3/3/2010 4:11:02 AM
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