Understanding the Origins of a Pandemic Virus

Hernandez, Carlos Xavier; Chan, Joseph M.; Khiabanian, Hossein; Rabadan, Raul

Understanding the pre-pandemic conditions and the origin of infectious diseases provides scientifically based rationales for implementing public health measures that help to avoid, or at least to mitigate, future epidemics. The recent ancestors of a pandemic virus provide an invaluable information about the set of minimal genomic alterations that transformed a zoonotic agent into a full human pandemic. Since the first confirmed cases of the H1N1pdm virus in the spring of 2009 several hypotheses about the strain's origins have been proposed. However, how, where, and when it first infected humans is still far from clear. The only way to piece together such an epidemiological puzzle relies on the collective effort of the international scientific community to increase genomic sequencing of influenza isolates, especially ones collected in the months prior to the origin of the pandemic.


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Academic Units
Biomedical Informatics
Published Here
March 9, 2011