Influenza Division (ID)
The Influenza Division provides the scientific and programmatic foundation and leadership for the diagnosis, prevention, and control of influenza domestically and internationally.
In addition, the Influenza Division along with other Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local health departments, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), World Health Organization (WHO), and other partners:
- Conducts domestic influenza surveillance and supports global influenza surveillance to monitor the impact of influenza and guide influenza vaccine virus selection decisions.
- Develops better diagnostic tests, testing capabilities and tools to improve provider diagnostic skills.
- Distributes influenza diagnostic testing reagents and supplies to public health partners in the United States and globally.
- Conducts surveillance for human infections with influenza viruses of animal origin (also referred to as “novel influenza A virus infections”) and conducts research at the animal-human interface to assess the risk of human infection with novel influenza A viruses and ways to prevent transmission of animal viruses to humans.
- Conducts surveillance and research on the susceptibility of influenza viruses to antiviral medications.
- Develops methods for improving rapid reporting and identification of new human seasonal influenza virus variants and novel influenza A viruses.
- Enhances the use of existing surveillance data and identifies alternative data sources for monitoring influenza geographic spread, severity and high risk groups most seriously affected by influenza.
- Conducts state-of-the-art applied research to better understand the properties of influenza viruses, which could provide insight into influenza virus evolution, transmissibility, pathogenicity, and susceptibility to antiviral drugs, as well as the immune response to the viruses; this improved understanding of the antigenic and genetic properties of influenza viruses can lead to the development of better tools for preventing and controlling influenza.
- Supports the development and production of better influenza vaccines that can be produced more quickly, including developing better-growing influenza viruses for use in vaccines, improving methods to more accurately and rapidly test the potency of vaccines; and, developing and evaluating new vaccines.
- Strengthens the foundation of influenza prevention practices through improving the evidence base regarding how influenza viruses spread.
- Supporting efforts by immunization programs and providers to increase vaccination coverage levels, monitor vaccine safety, improve appropriate use of influenza antiviral medications, and assess program effectiveness.
- Provides technical assistance for both domestic and international public health entities to conduct outbreak investigations and to expand influenza laboratory and epidemiologic capacity.
- Provides laboratory training both domestically and internationally to expand capacity for influenza diagnosis and surveillance and increase capacity for antiviral resistance testing and serologic testing.
What We Do
Office of the Director
- Manages, directs and coordinates the activities of the Influenza Division.
- Provides leadership and guidance in policy formulation, program planning and development, program management and operations of the division.
- Identifies needs and resources for ongoing and new initiatives, and assigns responsibilities for their development.
- Prepares, reviews and coordinates informational, scientific and programmatic documents.
- Oversees the division’s activities and expenditures.
- Assures the overall quality of the science conducted by the division.
- Provides overall guidance and direction for the division’s surveillance, research and other scientific and immunization activities.
- Provides overall guidance and direction for the division’s epidemiologic, laboratory, and outbreak response capacity and activities.
- Oversees and facilitates the division’s scientific support to other groups within CDC, national and international health care, and public health communities regarding influenza research, surveillance, laboratory and immunization programs.
- Supports applied public health research directed toward improved influenza prevention and control.
- Maintains programs and provides support for national and international epidemiologic and laboratory capacity building.
- Initiates and supports national and international laboratory and epidemiologic training courses.
- Provides technical assistance to states for influenza surveillance, epidemiology, laboratory and program matters.
- Provides technical expertise for communications to partners, health care providers, other federal agencies, and the public.
- Provides technical expertise and leadership for national and international pandemic planning activities.
- Guides and facilitates efficient coordination and cooperation for administrative, programmatic, and scientific activities within the division and with other groups within and outside of CDC.
- Dr. Nancy J. Cox serves as Director of the U.S. WHO Collaborating Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology and Control of Influenza.
- Serves on many CDC committees and in an advisory capacity for other domestic and international public health partners.
Virus Surveillance and Diagnosis Branch
- Conducts diagnosis, surveillance and research on influenza viruses to select effective vaccine strains, to monitor virus susceptibility to licensed drugs, and to develop methods for diagnosis, prevention and control of influenza.
- Functions as the laboratory component of one of five WHO Collaborating Centers on Surveillance, Epidemiology and Control of Influenza.
- Conducts and collaborates in clinical and laboratory research to develop, evaluate and improve laboratory diagnostic methods.
- Performs antigenic and genetic analysis of currently circulating–as well as novel–influenza viruses of animal origin to better understand their pandemic potential, with a focus on selection of candidate vaccine strains.
- Conducts surveillance for antiviral resistance among circulating seasonal influenza viruses as well as novel influenza A viruses.
- Evaluates and participates in development of antiviral medications for prevention and treatment of influenza.
- Conducts and collaborates in clinical and laboratory research to develop, evaluate and improve laboratory methods for detection of drug resistant influenza virus variants.
- Receives, processes and archives influenza viruses (including highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses) from State Health Departments and other domestic laboratories, National Influenza Centers abroad, the United States Department of Defense (DOD), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other collaborators around the globe, as a responsibility of CDC’s WHO Collaborating Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology and Control of Influenza.
- Shares isolates with other WHO collaborating laboratories, academic laboratories, private laboratories and companies for research or as reference materials in accordance with existing regulations.
- Maintains an extensive collection of domestic and foreign influenza viruses.
- Fulfills and maintains biosafety conditions (BSL-3 enhanced) required for work with exotic influenza viruses as well as with highly pathogenic viruses from the USDA Select Agents list.
- Fulfills and maintains the requirements and paperwork necessary for receiving and distributing highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses from the USDA Select Agents list.
- Fulfills and maintains the requirements necessary for Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certified diagnosis and antiviral testing for clinical care.
- Provides reference/diagnostic services and consultation on laboratory diagnosis and surveillance of influenza to state and local health departments, other Federal agencies, and national and international health organizations.
- Provides antiviral drug susceptibility assessment and consultation on antiviral testing for clinical care and surveillance of influenza to state and local health departments, other Federal agencies, and national and international health organizations.
- Provides scientific and technical assistance to other components of CDC when the work requires unique expertise or specialized equipment not otherwise available.
- Provides laboratory training on influenza virus detection, isolation, and antigenic and antiviral characterization to personnel from state and local health departments and other national and international organizations.
- Provides laboratory support for epidemiological investigations and clinical studies/trials conducted/funded by CDC.
- Performs tests and prepares documentation for the bi-annual WHO meetings on Vaccine Strain Selection for the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
- Collates and disseminates international virological information on influenza and provides updates to national and international partners and stakeholders.
- Monitors trends in influenza morbidity and mortality through surveillance of outpatient clinics and emergency departments, laboratories, hospitals, health departments, and death data.
- Evaluates the utility and quality of surveillance for influenza and modifies surveillance to meet ongoing needs and challenges.
- Provides leadership in training domestic and international partners in influenza surveillance methods and epidemiologic investigations of novel influenza cases.
- Utilizes surveillance data to inform national and international research and policy programs.
- Provides national leadership for creation of recommendations for the use of influenza vaccines and antiviral medications.
- Provides leadership and technical support for domestic and international plans to prepare for pandemic influenza.
- Conducts research towards improving surveillance strategies, enhancing immunization and antiviral effectiveness, and understanding the clinical and epidemiologic characteristics of influenza.
- Supports studies at the animal-human interface to investigate and control transmission of animal influenza viruses to humans.
- Communicates information regarding influenza surveillance, outbreaks, novel subtypes, critical research, and clinical issues to partners and the public through appropriate lay and scientific media, and to domestic and international public health partners.
- Assists state and local health departments to conduct outbreak investigations when needed and to address critical public health issues.
- Supports international efforts to investigate human cases of influenza due to novel subtypes and to advance influenza prevention through greater vaccine use.
- Provides technical support for global efforts to detect, investigate and control influenza.
- Conducts studies to evaluate the effectiveness of influenza vaccination and use of influenza antiviral medications in the United States and internationally.
- Models the spread of pandemic influenza and evaluates the effectiveness of various response strategies.
- Serves as a resource for U.S. partners, physicians and the public regarding influenza diagnosis and treatment.
- Provides technical support to other divisions and centers across CDC whose work includes influenza, such as CDC’s Immunization Safety Office, Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion (DHQP), Division of Global Migration and Quarantine (DGMQ), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and Immunization Services Division (ISD).
Molecular Virology and Vaccines Research (CVGDD)
- Conducts sequencing and phylogenetic studies to assess the threat from influenza viruses with pandemic potential and to select candidate vaccine viruses.
- Conducts research to identify critical determinants of the emergence, virulence (disease severity) and spread of seasonal or potentially pandemic influenza viruses using molecular, cellular and animal models.
- Conducts in vitro (in a laboratory setting) and in vivo (within a living organism) studies to understand human-animal influenza virus reassortment and support pandemic risk assessment.
- Uses molecular methods to explore differences in receptor binding and determine the impact on antigenic drift, virus host range and pandemic potential of influenza viruses.
- Conducts structural and functional studies of epidemic influenza viruses to identify determinants of virulence, antigenic drift and other phenotypic properties.
- Generates candidate influenza vaccine viruses using state-of-the-art molecular techniques in a Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) facility.
- Develops influenza vaccines and delivery approaches that elicit intra- or inter-subtype protection.
- Integrates multidisciplinary data from human and animal influenza viruses to inform pandemic risk assessment and vaccine preparedness.
- Provides expert consultation and training on sequencing and phylogenetic analysis, molecular virology, risk assessment, and vaccinology within CDC and HHS as well as for WHO, the private sector, other stakeholders and partners.
Immunology and Pathogenesis Branch
- Investigates the correlates of immunity following influenza infection and vaccination.
- Develops more effective influenza vaccine strategies for people of all ages.
- Conducts research to determine the effects of aging on immunity to influenza.
- Establishes in vivo and in vitro model systems to evaluate the relative virulence of novel influenza viruses and identify their potential to cause human disease.
- Identifies viral and host cell factors that contribute to the virulence and transmissibility of influenza viruses in mammals.
- Investigates the molecular basis of host innate immune responses to influenza virus infection and evaluates novel host factors as possible antiviral treatment modalities.
- Develops and performs preclinical evaluation of novel measures of control and prevention of epidemic and pandemic influenza viruses.
- Develops and uses immunologic (involving the immune system) methods to identify human infection with novel influenza viruses and to evaluate pandemic vaccine immunogenicity (the measure of immune protection provided by vaccination).
- Evaluates human cell mediated immunity to influenza infection and vaccination.
- Provides laboratory support in assessing immune responses for outbreak investigations and clinical trials.
- Provides leadership and guidance for other federal agencies, non-governmental agencies, and industry partners in validation of new methods for the evaluation of human immunity to novel influenza viruses.
- Provides leadership and guidance for other federal agencies and nongovernmental agencies for biosafety standards for laboratory work with influenza viruses.
Influenza Division Organizational Chart
For more information on influenza please visit the Seasonal Flu web site.
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