Influenza viruses evolve rapidly, making it hard to develop protective vaccines against them. Despite a great deal of effort, scientists have found it difficult to forecast which way the virus’ evolution would take it. Now, thanks to improvements in our ability to study viruses and a new mathematical model, anticipating influenza’s next move appears possible.
Because influenza is a major cause of death (it can result in pneumonia), understanding this evolution is more than an academic exercise—developing the right vaccines can save lives. Predicting which strain will be widespread nearly a year into the future is the central challenge of the World Health Organization’s vaccine strain selection committee.
Read the full, original story: Scientists create accurate predictor of the next year’s flu virus