Risk assessment: Laboratory-created A(H5N1) viruses transmissible between ferrets
The results of two, as yet unpublished, investigations of laboratory-induced genetic changes in avian influenza A(H5N1) viruses have been reported to have found that a surprisingly few number of changes make the viruses transmissible between ferrets, the most commonly used model for the way influenza behaves in humans. The possibility that this could have resulted in the development in laboratories of A(H5N1) influenza viruses transmissible between humans has caused concern for public safety and generated unusually high levels of debate in the scientific community. This report summarises and explains the complex public health and scientific issues around these developments including the positive and negative aspects of some of the responses that have been proposed internationally.
European Reference Laboratory Network for Human Influenza (ERLI-Net)
The ERLI-Net sub-network of reference laboratories of the European Influenza Surveillance Network carries out virological surveillance of human influenza in the EU/EEA through the EISN timely reporting mechanism and strengthening laboratory capacity for influenza virus detection, antiviral susceptibility testing and typing.
About the network
The main objectives of ERLI-Net are to carry out virological surveillance of human influenza and to ensure that data are shared through the European Influenza Surveillance Network (EISN) reporting mechanisms in a timely manner.
Influenza laboratory quality control
In accordance with the Key Tasks, ERLI-Net laboratories should participate in external quality assurance (EQA) schemes. EQA panels are distributed by both ERLI-Net and the WHO.