Despite effective vaccines, influenza remains a major global health threat due to the morbidity and mortality caused by seasonal epidemics, as well as the 2009 pandemic. Also of profound concern are the rare but potentially catastrophic transmissions of avian influenza to humans, highlighted by a recent H7N9 influenza outbreak. Murine and human studies reveal that the clinical course of influenza is the result of a combination of both host and viral genetic determinants. While viral pathogenicity has long been the subject of intensive efforts, research to elucidate host genetic determinants, particularly human, is now in the ascendant, and the goal of this review is to highlight these recent insights.
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