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Centre for Pathogen Evolution


Collaboration on H5 antigenic cartography

H5 Antigenic CartographyIn recognition of the rapid genetic and antigenic evolution of highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses of the H5 subtype, investigators from the University of Cambridge, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam are studying antigenic change of H5 viruses globally. To this end, the consortium periodically makes use of genome sequence data provided to GISAID (, to generate synthetic hemagglutinin constructs to produce recombinant H5 viruses and H5-specific ferret antisera. Antigenic characterization is then performed with the hemagglutination inhibition assay and the resulting data is used to build so called “antigenic maps” ( to represent all H5 viruses that have circulated from 1997 to the present day, providing critical information to stakeholders around the globe, for example for the design of vaccines for humans or poultry. The antigenic maps will be published with open access to the public. The synthetic hemagglutinin constructs, reverse genetics viruses and antisera will be shared with the laboratories that contributed the genome sequence data to GISAID. Reagents may also be provided to other researchers, including National Influenza Centers and global reference laboratories, upon assurance that the originating laboratory, where the clinical specimen or virus isolate was first obtained, and the submitting laboratory, where sequence data have been generated and submitted to GISAID, are fully recognized, to ensure fair attribution of contributions to the results benefitting from the data. Feel free to contact us for further information.