Influenza, Still a Major Threat – New International Report on Current Research

The STAR-IDAZ International Research Consortium on Animal Health has published an independent report, (available in the reports section of this website – here) to comprehensively review the research on animal influenza viruses, that has been published in the last five years, including studies on virology, pathogenicity, epidemiology, prevention and control. As well as reviewing recently published literature, major leading research groups working in this field were contacted so that information on their current research priorities and activities, could be included.

The findings show good progress in understanding influenza, but major gaps in our knowledge and preparedness for a pandemic remain. It highlights the importance of surveillance of animal populations, including wild birds, as well as developing appropriate diagnostic techniques, and molecular studies to track the evolution of variants of the virus. The report also looks towards the future of animal influenza research, including how to leverage the rapid advances made in understanding the science of SARS-CoV-2-19 to advance our knowledge of influenza and its control.

Professor Hong Yin of the Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and Chair of the STAR-IDAZ IRC said: “Influenza is a global problem – a serious threat to human health and food security, that needs a coordinated approach in researching the tools that we need to prevent and control this disease. STAR-IDAZ IRC plays an important role in this coordinated approach and this report will be valuable in helping us deal with influenza threat.”

The findings of the report will be used in a detailed gap analyses to be organised by STAR-IDAZ IRC with the USDA, that will incorporate a review of current research and control measures, alongside knowledge of control strategies, in use or under development, and their efficacy.