The biology of influenza viruses

Vaccine. 2008 Sep 12;26 Suppl 4(Suppl 4):D49-53. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2008.07.039.


The influenza viruses are characterized by segmented, negative-strand RNA genomes requiring an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase of viral origin for replication. The particular structure ofthe influenza virus genome and function of its viral proteins enable antigenic drift and antigenic shift. These processes result in viruses able to evade the long-term adaptive immune responses in many hosts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Viral / genetics*
  • Antigens, Viral / immunology*
  • Genetic Drift*
  • Orthomyxoviridae / genetics*
  • Orthomyxoviridae / immunology*
  • Reassortant Viruses / genetics*
  • Reassortant Viruses / immunology*


  • Antigens, Viral