Capturing the moon

The ambition of the FluZooMark project is to identify reliable molecular markers for the prediction of the zoonotic potential of new Influenza A viruses (IAVs) in swine. FluZooMark will combine leading researchers with unique access to influenza virus isolates, laboratory techniques and data.

The mechanism behind transmission of influenza A virus from animals to humans is of obvious interest and a number of studies has focused on viral and host markers for transmissibility of avian influenza to humans or has focused on identification of genetic markers of transmission of influenza viruses from swine to humans. In contrast, studies on host factor determinants in human infection with swine influenza virus are scarce. Furthermore, most studies have focused on examination of the significance of either viral or host factors restricted to humans or animals. The activities in the FluZooMark project are different and groundbreaking in the combination of expertise in medical and veterinary sciences and implement a unique cross-disciplinary approach by integrating research in virology and immunology in animals and humans.

The expected outcomes include the establishment of innovative, cheap and fast tools to improve our capability to predict the zoonotic potential of emerging IAVs for the prevention of future influenza pandemics and design of improved vaccines. These tools are essential to avoid public fear caused by false alarms, while still allowing authorities to elicit an earlier, more effective and appropriate response when real threats emerge. Furthermore, FluZooMark will train highly skilled young scientists that will become the next generation of outstanding researchers in influenza virus biology.

Picture borrowed from The Guardian