The FluTypeDB project is a web application for the data management of binding assays for the classification of influenza subtypes. FluTypeDB consists of a database and web interface with focus on various binding assays for the classification of influenza viruses and contains experimental data based on
The influenza virus is responsible for annually occurring flu outbreaks and on longer time scales fatal pandemics. Until now effective and cost-efficient protection from pandemics can be achieved only by vaccination. However, influenza viruses mutate frequently, leading constantly to the appearance of so-called new subtypes. New vaccination is required against the occurrence of new subtypes. An accurate vaccination recommendation requires a rapid identification of the currently circulating influenza strains.
The WHO with its Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISR) globally monitors the occurring subtypes. The monitoring is conducted by national reference laboratories. Hereby, annually thousands of patient samples are isolated and analyzed. The current analysis involves complex and time-consuming bioassays on ferrets. Until now, such bioassays are necessary to generate specific hyperimmune serum, which is essential for the subclassification. In addition, low reproducibility and limited standardization limit the value of the results.
At the University of Potsdam and the Fraunhofer IZI-BB, a proof of concept for a novel method for influenza sub-classification has been developed. Currently, its applicability has to be shown. As illustrated in the simplified figure, the novel approach classifies viruses in the subtypes H7N1 and H5N1 based on distinguishing molecule binding patterns (peptides) (i). The individual subtypes specifically interact with the set of peptides leading to unique binding patterns (ii). Hence, a distinction (subclassification) of the virus can be achieved.
The novel method simplifies and accelerates sub-classification, as a result of which a more accurate composition of the vaccination can be recommended. Thus, enabling a more effective preservation and moreover saving several thousand ferrets. The test system aims to distinguish the relevant circulating influenza strains of the last 10 years in order to enable the monitoring by reference laboratories. Further advantages of the innovative approach are: i) contemporary influenza monitoring ii) high potential of standardization iii) high reproducibility. Over the medium term, further application in animal health and individual diagnostics will be addressed.
The highly innovative platform technology is validated by the University of Potsdam and the Fraunhofer IZI-BB. With both having the resources and expertise in the transfer of the research results to assay development. The Robert Koch-Institut, the German reference laboratory for influenza, is additionally participating in the project providing a validation of the requirements of the end user. Eventually, economic recovery will be achieved by out-licensing.
© 2017 FluType