(Geneva, Switzerland) An advisory group of experts taking part in a virtual meeting organized by the WHO Global Influenza Programme between 17-25 February 2021 analyzed influenza virus surveillance data generated by the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS), and issued on 26 February 2021, recommendations on the composition of the influenza vaccines for the following influenza season.
These recommendations are used by the national vaccine regulatory agencies and the pharmaceutical companies to develop, produce and license influenza vaccines.
On February 19, 2021 the WHO H5 Reference Laboratory of the State Research Centre for Virology and Biotechnology (VECTOR) of the Russian Federation notified the WHO about cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H5N8) virus. These are the first laboratory confirmed human cases of A(H5N8) virus infection to be reported worldwide. The genome sequences of the viruses from a human case and from poultry are shared in GISAID (EPI_ISL_1038924).
On December 21, 2020, FBRI SRC VB VECTOR Rospotrebnadzor had received 56 serum samples and 37 nasopharyngeal swabs samples from farm workers of Vladimirskaya Poultry Farm in Astrakhan (Russian Federation) who were potentially exposed during a large-scale outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N8) in poultry.
The Virology Unit of the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge has recently submitted the full genome sequences for 2 bat coronaviruses from samples taken from bats in 2010 in the Steung Treng province of Cambodia; they appear to join the list of coronaviruses that are closely related to the current pandemic virus.
Other potential precursors known so far include bat coronaviruses from caves in Yunnan (Southern China), sampled in 2013 and 2019, and samples derived from pangolins in Southern China from 2017 and 2019.
see: Vibol Hul et al (2021) A novel SARS-CoV-2 related coronavirus in bats from Cambodia
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
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