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Welcome message from Lab Director

Zoonotic pathogens pose a substantial global risk to public health and require an integrated One Health approach for their effective detection, control and mitigation or treatment. Over 60% of human infectious diseases originate in animals, predominantly from wildlife reservoirs, and over 70% of these zoonotic pathogens are “emerging”.

As an emerging and re-emerging pathogen, influenza viruses belong to the family Orthomyxoviridae and comprise four genera: influenza viruses A, B, C, and D. To date, we have known influenza viruses infects a variety of hosts (e.g. humans, sea mammals, and avian, swine, canine, and equine species), influenza B virus and influenza C virus infect humans and swine, and influenza D virus infects cattle and swine.

Influenza is associated with significant mortality and morbidity, detrimental economic impacts and pandemic potential and with threats to animal health and food security, especially in low income areas and countries. Each year in the US, >200,000 hospitalizations and up to 49,000 deaths are caused by influenza, and the estimated average annual economic burden of seasonal influenza to the healthcare system and society is $11.2 billion. In the Global Influenza Strategy for 2019-2030, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates there are one billion cases of seasonal influenza each year, 3-5 million cases resulting in severe illness and 290,000-650,000 influenza related deaths globally with mortality disproportionately affecting young children in developing countries. The 2015 outbreak of Eurasian origin subtype H5N2 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), an evolutionary descendant of A/Goose/Guangdong/1996(H5N1)-like virus, is regarded as the worst animal health incident in the U.S., resulting in the death of > 50 million birds and economic losses conservatively estimated at 3.3 billion U.S. dollars within a few months.

Vaccination is the primary option for reducing the effects of influenza. Since 2010, annual influenza vaccination has been recommended for persons ≥6 months of age. However, influenza vaccine performance varies significantly between different influenza seasons, and reduced vaccine effectiveness has been observed against some influenza viruses.

The mission of Influenza Systems Biology Laboratory are to understand how zoonotic pathogens (especially influenza A viruses) emerge and re-emerge at the animal-human interface and to improve the effectiveness of the influenza vaccines in disease prevention and control by developing and applying integrated, multi-scale, and evidence-based approaches that combining laboratory, clinical and computational methods.

As science and technology advance, so does Influenza Systems Biology Laboratory. We will continue to work hard to fulfil our mission and to improve human and animal health.

Dr. Henry Wan
Director, MU Center for Research on Influenza Systems Biology (CRISB)
Professor of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology
Professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Professor of Veterinary Pathobiology
University of Missouri-Columbia