With deep sadness we announce the loss of Vicki Gregory, a member of our scientific family and dear friend. Vicki was a founding member of GISAID’s Database Technical Group playing a key role in providing scientific guidance for the development of GISAID’s EpiFlu database.
Vicki was held in high regard by colleagues around the world for her contribution to influenza surveillance and research. A wonderful mother, wife, daughter and friend to many, Vicki inspired us all.
Geneva, Switzerland. Since 23 September 2019, the WHO Global Influenza Programme is convening a meeting of an expert advisory group to analyze influenza virus surveillance data generated through the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS), and issue recommendations on the composition of the influenza vaccines for the following influenza season, to be announced on 27 September.
These recommendations are used by the national vaccine regulatory agencies and the pharmaceutical companies to develop, produce and license influenza vaccines.
The WHO Global Influenza Programme, together with the National Centre for Infectious Diseases and the Bioinformatics Institute Singapore and the GISAID Initiative held a 2-day influenza bioinformatics workshop with hands-on sessions provided by leading experts in their respective fields, preceding the Options for the Control of Influenza X on 26-27 August 2019.
Participants trained on the GISAID EpiFlu™ database to monitor complex epidemiological relationships among circulating animal and human influenza viruses and the detection and interpretation of evolutionary change using FluSurver and Nextflu.
A severe human case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H7N9 occurred in late March 2019 in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region of China. The case resided near a poultry slaughtering stall, prompting immediate environmental sampling of this location.
Phylogenetic analyses of the virus showed that the sequences from the case and from several environmental samples formed a distinct clade from the gene sequences from viruses collected in 2017. Comparison with a candidate vaccine strain showed several mutations, possibly associated with antigenic drift which has yet to be characterized. No human cases of H7N9 were reported for over a year previously.
(Atlanta) After nearly three decades at the US CDC, the Director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology and Control of Influenza and Co-Chair of GISAID Scientific Advisory Council, Dr. Jackie Katz has retired. Since joining the CDC in 1992, Dr. Katz drove progress in influenza-related science and public health. She is the recipient of three Charles C. Shepard Science Awards, having co-authored over 330 peer-reviewed research articles reviews, and book chapters.
“While Dr. Katz’s leadership was most evident during the 2009 flu pandemic, her most lasting legacy may be her ability to develop young scientists through mentorship and support.” said Dr. Dan Jernigan, Director of the CDC's Influenza Division
(Tokyo) Dr. Takato Odagiri, Director of the Influenza Virus Research Center at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) and Director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Reference and Research on Influenza has retired.
Dr. Odagiri began his career in 1985 as an assistant professor and a lecturer at Jichi Medical University and is the author and co-author of over 100 peer-reviewed publications.
Dr. Odagiri served on GISAID's Scientific Advisory Council since 2014, playing a critical role in providing scientific oversight of the Initiative. GISAID wishes Dr. Odagiri a healthy & happy new chapter in his life and a successful retirement.
The 1st World Flu Day was formally launched at the Asian-Pacific Centenary Spanish 1918-flu symposium in Shenzhen, to raise public awareness of influenza and accelerate scientific innovation and basic research efforts particularly the development of a universal flu vaccine. Prof George Fu Gao, Director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and fellow researchers are pushing for stronger global political will in continuing the support of influenza prevention and control.
“2018 also marks the 15-year commemoration of the SARS outbreak, after which strengthening the CDC became the top priority in China's public policy agenda. As a result, China boosted investment in the public health system, strengthening national and local surveillance systems for all infectious diseases more efficiently and effectively, and improving research capacity, especially for emerging infectious diseases.” says Prof. Gao
Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny spoke in Berlin on October 18th at the Grand Challenges Annual Meeting, co-hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the German Federal Ministry of Education & Research, discussing "Sequence data sharing – the influenza GISAID model and its wider applicability".
“In a world where global emerging disease threats demand effective sharing of information, GISAID has demonstrated what can be achieved by galvanizing the interests of public health officials, academia and industry to combat influenza” says Dr Kieny
Sanofi Pasteur’s Foundation for Influenza Epidemiology has awarded GISAID €300,000 to strengthen the Initiative and enhance its EpiFlu™ database and educational programs. In partnership with the Foundation’s Global Influenza Hospital-based Surveillance Network (GIHSN), GISAID will help promote the sharing and integration of clinical, epidemiological and virological data to better understand the impact of severe influenza and the benefit of vaccination.
“Given the high variability of influenza virus circulation, generation of comparable data across seasons with a broad geographical scope are required”, says Dr. Cédric Mahé, President of the Foundation and Head of Epidemiology at Sanofi Pasteur.
Dr. Karin Schwabenbauer, Germany's Chief Veterinary Officer, a former President of the OIE World Assembly of Delegates and OIE Council, and FAO official overseeing the Animal Health Crisis Management Centre retires at the end of September. As the German Government's focal point in the GISAID Initiative, she played a key role in ensuring GISAID's recognition in FAO, OIE and WHO member states deliberations following the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.
“Karin's passion for science and unwavering commitment to improving both animal and human health made her one of the true champions of One Health. We thank Karin for her unswerving support of our Initiative, she has helped shape.” said Dr. Alan Hay, GISAID Scientific Liaison Officer
(Atlanta) Experts taking part in the WHO vaccine composition and information meeting (VCM) between 24-26 September, at the WHO Collaborating Centre for Surveillance, Epidemiology & Control of Influenza at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommend components for vaccines for the 2019 Southern Hemisphere influenza season.
GISAID welcomes a €250,000 donation from Seqirus, a leading innovator in influenza vaccine technologies and pandemic response solutions. Seqirus is the first influenza vaccine company to make a significant financial contribution to GISAID.
“Seqirus is proud to support GISAID in its mission to provide open and rapid access to influenza virus data for the public health good of all nations,” said Gordon Naylor, President of Seqirus
Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, a former Assistant Director-General of WHO will advise GISAID on international affairs. Most recently Dr Kieny led the WHO research & development initiative during the Ebola crisis resulting in the WHO R&D Blueprint for public health emergencies, with an emphasis on enhanced global collaboration and timely sample and data sharing to support rapid emergency response.
“In a world where global emerging disease threats demand effective sharing of information, GISAID has demonstrated what can be achieved by galvanizing the interests of public health officials, academia and industry to combat influenza” said Dr. Kieny
During the 6th African Network for the Surveillance of Influenza (ANISE) in Antananarivo, GISAID and isirv - in collaboration with Institut Pasteur de Madagascar and the World Health Organization’s Global Influenza Programme (GIP), with support from United States Agency for International Development (USAID) - are holding a two-day training workshop on genetic sequence analysis of influenza viruses to provide training for monitoring sequence variation among influenza viruses in relation to surveillance of influenza epidemics and detection of resistance to influenza antiviral drugs.
GISAID salutes GIP and GISRS. It was 1947 when the WHO’s Interim Committee recognized the importance of Influenza and started a globally-coordinated effort for its surveillance, study and control that saw the beginning of the Global Influenza Programme. By 1952, the WHO Executive Board called for an influenza surveillance system to collect, correlate and distribute information regarding occurrence, epidemiology and laboratory findings. Today GISRS encompasses 143 institutions across 113 Member States. A global disease surveillance network built on voluntary collaboration and real-time reporting that makes up the backbone of today's global influenza surveillance.
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).
re3data.org and DataCite, the world’s leading provider of digital object identifiers (DOI) for research data, affirmed the designation of access to GISAID's database and data as Open Access. A persistent link for this designation has been assigned to GISAID for citation purposes (doi:10.17616/R3Q59F).
Directors of WHO Collaborating Centers and Members of GISAID's Scientific Advisory Council consulted with the Global Influenza Program, National Influenza Centers and ERLs, as well as industry representatives on the progress of timely virus data sharing through GISAID, followed by round-table discussions.
The rapid dissemination of results during outbreaks is sporadic at best. In the case of influenza, a global initiative called GISAID established a framework for good practice. Largely thanks to this, during the 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak, it became a go-to place for the community to deposit and locate H1N1 sequence information.
Pardis C. Sabeti et al, Nature 518, 477–479 (26 February 2015)
During the 1st GISAID Symposium hosted by the Federal Republic of Germany, Assistant Director General Dr. Keiji Fukuda expresses WHO's support for GISAID.
"We have the development of critically important and technically advanced new platforms such as GISAID. This data sharing initiative provides an important option for sharing genetic sequence and epidemiological data. WHO is fully supportive of GISAID and any other initiative which promotes sharing and access to information, in ways that are trustworthy, transparent, efficient and timely."