Google Earth Used To Track Bird Flu Evolution - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Data Management // Big Data Analytics
News
1/8/2009
05:35 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%
RELATED EVENTS
Ransomware: Latest Developments & How to Defend Against Them
Nov 01, 2017
Ransomware is one of the fastest growing types of malware, and new breeds that escalate quickly ar ...Read More>>

Google Earth Used To Track Bird Flu Evolution

The software allowed University of Colorado researchers to map individual gene mutations in H5N1 as the virus spreads around the globe.

Google Flu Trends has helped medical researchers track flu outbreaks. Now scientists have used Google Earth to understand how the avian flu virus is gaining resistance to antiviral drugs through evolutionary selection.

Researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder recently found that the avian flu, a subtype of influenza A known as H5N1, is evolving resistance to adamantanes, one of two classes of antiviral medications used to treat the flu.

The study, "Evolution of drug resistance in multiple distinct lineages of H5N1 avian influenza," was published last October in the journal Infection, Genetics, and Evolution. Its co-authors included CU-Boulder doctoral student Andrew Hill, CU-Boulder associate professor Robert Guralnick, recent CU-Boulder graduate Meredith Wilson, Farhat Habib of Kansas State University, and Daniel Janies of Ohio State University.

Google Earth played an important role in the scientists' research. It allowed them to map individual gene mutations in H5N1 as the virus spreads around the globe. "Our mapping of a phylogeny based on full genome analysis of H5N1 into Google Earth shows that adamantine-resistant lineages have spread and emerged independently in various regions of South East Asia over a period of only four years," the report states.

The researchers have made their flu map available as a KMZ file, which is a geospatial data format used by Google Earth.

Hill told the CU-Boulder news service that the reason for H5N1's growing resistance to adamantane antivirals is that Chinese farmers have been overusing the drugs by adding them to chicken feed to prevent bird flu.

If Tamiflu (oseltamivir), the other major class of antivirals for the flu, is ever used this way, Hill expects it too could become more widely resisted.

"Taken as a whole, our results suggest that widespread antiviral drug use changes the selective landscape ... for H5N1 influenza," the report states. "Going forward, natural selection may lead to further emergence and spread of resistance to antiviral drugs."

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of IT Report
In today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll