One year ago, critical public health responses around the globe were kicked off, when China CDC shared via GISAID the first SARS-CoV-2 whole-genomes and associated data.
This curated, high-quality data made available through GISAID permitted the initiation of the development of the first vaccines, diagnostic tests, and other responses at unprecedented speed, including the first vaccines to be approved and made available (Polack et al N Engl J Med 2020), and development of the first NAAT and RT-PCR-based molecular tests to detect the pandemic coronavirus (Bohn et al Clin Chem Lab Med 2020).
As seen on many occasions before, mutations are naturally expected for viruses and are most often simply neutral regional markers useful for contact tracing. The changes seen have rarely affected viral fitness and almost never affected clinical outcome but the detailed effects of these mutations remain to be determined fully. Changes in the spike protein have relevance for potential effects on both host receptor as well as antibody binding with possible consequences for infectivity, transmission potential and antibody and vaccine escape. Actual effects need to be measured and verified experimentally.
As has become evident, these few S gene mutations and some deletions are found in multiple genomic contexts (different clades in different countries) that may be an early indication for some potential advantage for these viruses but needs to be verified and does not necessarily mean change in clinical severity or transmission efficiency. > read more
By 21 December, 301 new virus genomes collected in South Africa since November 1 were submitted to GISAID, bringing the total number of virus genome submissions from South Africa to 2,730. The 301 recent virus genomes include 182 from clade GH; 71 from clade GR; 45 from clade G; one from clade GV; and two from other clades. Of the 182 genomes from clade GH, 89% have three mutations in the spike receptor binding site (K417N, E484K, and N501Y). 27% of the 182 have a nine-nucleotide deletion in NSP6 in addition to the three mutations. Spike mutation N501Y is also found in the novel UK variant under investigation, which is from a different clade.
It has been reported, based on high-throughput experiments, that all three spike receptor binding site mutations (K417N, E484K and N501Y) were shown to mildly increase receptor binding. Because receptor binding interfaces are also common epitopes, receptor binding interface mutations could also affect binding of some antibodies to the virus and, in rare cases, have the potential to affect vaccine response. A triple mutant at the interface has not been observed yet in larger outbreaks and should be investigated in detail. Experimental data would be welcome to clarify the impact of the mutations. > read more
The United Kingdom reported a new variant, termed VUI 202012/01 (Variant Under Investigation, year 2020, month 12, variant 01). It was defined by multiple spike protein changes (deletion 69-70, deletion 145, N501Y, A570D, D614G, P681H, T716I, S982A, D1118H). An increasing fraction in Southern England (all from clade GR) share several of these changes and a handful have been seen through imports in other countries.
As seen on many occasions before, changes are naturally expected for viruses and are most often simply neutral regional markers useful for contact tracing. The changes seen have rarely been affecting viral fitness and almost never affect clinical outcome but the detailed effects of these changes remain to be determined fully.
Highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses of the H5N8 and H5N1 subtypes were detected in the Netherlands in October 2020. The HA genes of the two viruses are closely related, but the other genes of the H5N1 viruses appear to originate from other virus lineages circulating in Eurasia. The earliest virus detections were on 16 October in Eurasian wigeons, a long-distance migrant, and four full virus genomes were uploaded to GISAID by late October.
The virus genome sequences are suggestive for new virus introductions into the EU, different from the outbreaks of last winter. Previously, scientists from the Global Consortium for H5N8 and Related Influenza Viruses used GISAID data to investigate the role of migratory wild birds.
Member States representatives met at the 72nd annual World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss and debate a report prepared by the WHO on the public health implications of implementation the Nagoya Protocol.
GISAID comments on that paper, highlighting the current issues around sharing of seasonal influenza viruses, the consequences of delays in virus sharing, and the connection to the discussion at the Convention on Biological Diversity.
A peer-reviewed fact-finding and scoping study on digital sequence information on genetic resources in the context of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol, highlights key advantages of GISAID’s sharing mechanism and a fair and equitable benefit-sharing resulting from access to data.
With the core principals of timely international sharing of health data for protecting populations against lethal infectious disease outbreaks and adherence to scientific etiquette of acknowledgement of the source of data has resulted in global trust and confidence in GISAID.
At the invitation of Germany, the first meeting of Health Ministers of the Group of Twenty leading industrialized and emerging economies (G20) took place in Berlin between 19-20 May 2017.
Under the banner of “Together Today for a Healthy Tomorrow – Joint Commitment for Shaping Global Health”, the two-day meeting focused on combating global health hazards. In their Berlin Declaration, the G20 Health Ministers recognize the importance of the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID).
The GISAID Initiative involves public-private-partnerships between the Initiative's administrative arm Freunde of GISAID e.V., a registered non-profit association, and governments of the Federal Republic of Germany, the official host of the GISAID platform, Singapore and the United States of America, with support from private and corporate philanthropy.
Congratulations to GISAID for ten years of successful work on pandemic influenza preparedness. As one of the key players in ensuring effective data sharing GISAID has made a significant contribution to global health security
Prof. Jane Halton AO PSM
Chair, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations CEPI
Commemorating the centenary of the 1918 pandemic, the most catastrophic event in the recorded history of influenza, it is reassuring to know that GISAID is ready and prepared when a similar event emerges and threatens global health. Congratulations on bringing together one of the most successful global collaborations ever achieved
Prof. Dr Rob Webster
St Jude Children’s Research
Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee
The unique contribution of the GISAID data sharing mechanism is the confidence it has engendered among scientific and political communities as it has added to their capabilities to collaborate more effectively to combat influenza viruses
Dr med David Nabarro
United Nations System Coordinat.
for Avian & Human Influenza (ret)
We do need substantially innovative mechanisms for microbe sharing, if mankind is to survive future pandemics. GISAID is an excellent example!!!
Dr Suwit Wibulpolprasert
Ministry of Public Health, Thailand
International Health Policy Program Foundation
IFPMA acknowledges GISAID’s important role in providing the platform for the open and timely sharing of influenza data and building greater trust among countries and stakeholders, a key element to influenza global pandemic preparedness
Thomas B. Cueni
International Federation of Pharma
Manufacturers & Associations
The tenth anniversary of GISAID represents a landmark in global solidarity. A pandemic strain of influenza is perhaps the world's greatest threat. Everything GISAID stands for: virus sharing, cutting-edge research, open access, and international cooperation to guarantee health security couldn't be more important
Prof. Lawrence O. Gostin
WHO Collaborating Center on
National and Global Health Law
GISAID’s trustworthy data sharing principles forever transformed global collaboration in the fight against influenza, enabling unprecedented rapid response to outbreaks. In 2013, Nature called China’s sharing of H7N9 avian influenza data through GISAID ‘next to exemplary’
Prof. Dr George Fu Gao
Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention
A key to protecting the world from future viral threats is having immediate and open access to critical viral data. GISAID has established a highly effective, trusted and time-tested model for influenza data sharing that could serve as an important model for other viral families
GISAID successfully built upon the collaborative ethos of the 70-year old WHO Global Influenza Programme, to complement and extend the sharing of viruses, reagents & essential information
Dr med Wenqing Zhang
World Health Organization
Global Influenza Programme
The GISAID Initiative was established to champion (and enhance) rapid sequence data sharing for seasonal and pandemic influenza preparedness - a global public health imperative. GISAID’s success exceeded our expectations and provides an important model for rapid data sharing for other pathogens with pandemic potential
Not all big ideas become a reality and not all big ideas fill a global need. As a public-private partnership GISAID is a model for data sharing in the digital age. On its 10th anniversary we may look back at the initial inspiration and the headline of the supporting editorial in Nature that puts the point succinctly: Sharing saves lives
Dr med Bruce G. Gellin
Global Immunization, President
Sabin Vaccine Institute
ECDC congratulates GISAID for a successful 10 years of advocating for and implementing sharing of influenza sequence data. The initiative plays a key role in global and European pandemic preparedness and increases our understanding of the annual influenza seasons
Dr Mike Catchpole
European Centre for Disease
Prevention and Control (ECDC)
GISAID has advanced influenza virus data sharing to a new level, greatly contributing to the global effort to detect, respond, and mitigate seasonal and pandemic influenza
Prof. Dr med Peter Jay Hotez
Baylor College of Medicine, Dean
National School Tropical Medicine
Over the past decade, GISAID has been an invaluable global partner in fostering open access to data related to influenza, a central issue related to influenza and all EIDs
Prof. Dr med Keiji Fukuda
The University of Hong Kong
School of Public Health
GISAID encourages increased collection and rapid dissemination of data that improves our understanding of the complex and dynamic epidemiology of influenza viruses. On behalf of OFFLU network, we offer our congratulations on the contribution GISAID has made to build international collaboration over the last 10 years
Dr Peter Daniels
Dr David Swayne
OFFLU OIE/FAO Network of
Expertise on Animal Influenza
The pioneering concept of transparent data sharing developed GISAID into the premier source of influenza virus sequence information and proven its worth in outbreak situations
Prof. Dr Thomas C. Mettenleiter
Federal Research Institute
for Animal Health, Germany
Ten years after GISAID first introduced its game-changing mechanism, breaking data sharing barriers, it continues to be a most trusted leader in pandemic preparedness & response
Prof. Dr Yuelong Shu
Sun Yat-sen University, Dean
School of Public Health, Shenzhen
GISAID has become the most complete public database for influenza virus sequence data in support of fundamental science and public and animal health applications
Prof. Dr Ron Fouchier
Erasmus MC Rotterdam
Viroscience & Nat'l Influenza Cntr
By sharing influenza virus sequences among scientists around the world, GISAID has had a tremendous impact on influenza virus research
Prof. Dr Yoshihiro Kawaoka
University of Wisconsin-Madison
University of Tokyo