Influenza A virus is a virus that kills many people every year. There is a constant exchange of influenza virus between humans and pigs, leading to the formation of new viruses with the potential to develop into a new influenza pandemic. The flu pandemic in 2009 was thus caused by a virus from pigs. Denmark produces more than 30 million pigs annually, and thousands of people are in daily contact with pigs. This makes Denmark a hot spot for the development of new influenza viruses and provides a perfect framework for the study of the exchange of influenza viruses.
In the FluZooMark project, researchers in virology and immunology in animals and humans will work together to characterize human and animal influenza viruses to find out why some influenza viruses can jump from swine to humans. The project is expected to generate groundbreaking new tools for preventing future influenza pandemics in humans and provide knowledge that can be used in the future to design improved vaccines for humans and animals.
The project is a collaboration of researchers from the four institutions, University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Statens Serum Institut (SSI), Technical University of Denmark (DTU), and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (St. Jude) in Memphis, USA. All are experts in various aspects of influenza virus infections in humans and animals.