Genome informatics of influenza A: from data sharing to shared analytical capabilities

Anim Health Res Rev. 2010 Jun;11(1):73-9. doi: 10.1017/S1466252310000083.


Emerging infectious diseases are critical issues of public health and the economic and social stability of nations. As demonstrated by the international response to the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and influenza A, rapid genomic sequencing is a crucial tool to understand diseases that occur at the interface of human and animal populations. However, our ability to make sense of sequence data lags behind our ability to acquire the data. The potential of sequence data on pathogens is not fully realized until raw data are translated into public health intelligence. Sequencing technologies have become highly mechanized. If the political will for data sharing remains strong, the frontier for progress in emerging infectious diseases will be in analysis of sequence data and translation of results into better public health science and policy. For example, applying analytical tools such as Supramap ( to genomic data for pathogens, public health scientists can track specific mutations in pathogens that confer the ability to infect humans or resist drugs. The results produced by the Supramap application are compelling visualizations of pathogen lineages and features mapped into geographic information systems that can be used to test hypotheses and to follow the spread of diseases across geography and hosts and communicate the results to a wide audience.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Computational Biology*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Genome, Viral*
  • Humans
  • Influenza A virus / genetics*
  • Information Dissemination
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / epidemiology
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / virology*
  • Research