The Influenza Virus Database is administered by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) with funding from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and is an extensive and frequently updated database of genetic sequences of flu viruses collected from around the globe.  Flu samples are continually collected from humans as well as birds, pigs, primates and many other animals. 

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As shown by the graph of sequence submissions, this project has experienced an almost exponential growth pattern of flu sequence data since it's conception.   

The Influenza Virus Database pulls the majority of it’s sequences from Genbank, a database with all publicly available DNA sequences. The Influenza Database also gathers sequence data from some contributors including the governmental agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and others and the University of Hong Kong.

Primary Functions of The Influenza Virus Database:

1. Database Browsing and Sequence Retrieving

2. Complete Genome Sets Finding

3. Multiple Sequence Alignment

4. Cluster or Phylogenetic Tree Building

Searches can be focused by type of virus, host animal, region, time period, protein associations and H and N type.

Example Search:

NCBI Search

For instance, the Influenza Virus Database can be used to search for full genome sets Virus Sequences by going to that search page and searching for swine flu in North America, which returns over 2,000 genome sets. See image of search window to the right.

Research Using Database:

An example of a published work using data from the Influenza Virus Database is a paper entitled, Visualization of large influenza virus sequence data sets using adaptively aggregated trees with sampling-based subscale representation, authored by Leonid Zaslavsky*, Yiming Bao and Tatiana A Tatusova

Phylo Tree

Zaslavsky et al. used algorithms in JavaScript to access and study the online database and developed their own method to visualize phylogenetic trees of the influenza virus between 1970 and 2000. The influenza virus generally follows a pattern of evolution whereby genetically distinct virus lineages will branch out from the major lineage and then these new lineages frequently die off, while the original lineage remains. Among other functions, the visualization algorithm discussed in this paper allows for this evolution pattern to be observed. See the image of the Phylogenetic Tree to the left.

Epidemiological Significance of Influenza Virus: