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Modeling the spread of H1N1 flu

In a release today, the National Institutes of Health highlighted work being done to model the spread of H1N1 and to test the effectiveness of various prediction and response strategies. The research is part of an effort called the Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study (MIDAS), and should be useful to policymakers and public-health workers who make decisions on how to respond to emerging infectious disease. Among the current projects:

...A MIDAS group based at the University of Washington in Seattle is now studying the impact the virus could have this fall and winter. Its model, which represents the world population, includes information about immunity - how many people are protected by vaccination or prior infection - and the other circulating flu strains. Using the model, the scientists may be able to predict how H1N1 evolves and the possible role of the H3N2 strain, which historically has been the dominant seasonal flu virus. The results also may help forecast the potential effectiveness of the new flu vaccine that includes both the H1N1 and H3N2 viral strains.

Researchers at Stanford are also doing a wide variety of H1N1/flu-related work; my colleague outlined some of those studies last year.

Previously: Improving vaccine response to flu pandemics, New web-based application tracks evolution of pathogens, and Department of Energy lab develops new software for evaluating and responding to pandemics

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