Evolution of RNA viruses and the predictability of next year's flu
Dr. Richard Neher, MPI für Entwicklungsbiologie Tübingen
Our immune system detects pathogens, memorizes their features, and prevents future infections by the same pathogen. In response to this immune pressure, HIV and seasonal influenza their genome and thereby avoid immune recognition. Such evolving populations of HIV and influenza are diverse with many different variants competing for survival. I will present theoretical models that predict statistical properties of such rapidly adapting populations and compare these predictions to time resolved deep sequencing data obtained from several HIV positive patients. The global population of seasonal influenza virus shows similar patterns of rapid adaptation. I will show how we can use our understanding of rapidly adapting population to predict the dominant influenza strain of the coming season.