It’s almost flu season, so keep washing your hands and get a flu shot. But no matter how well we prepare, the virus stays one step ahead. Researchers now think that’s because the flu virus doesn’t vacation—it remains on duty throughout the year, traveling the globe and mixing with other strains.
Penn State University biologist Edward Holmes analyzed the genomes of 900 influenza A virus samples from around the world and found similarities between viruses from the northern and southern hemispheres, suggesting regular viral traffic across the equator. Still unclear is where and when the virus evolves.
Scientists from NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Fogarty International Center also contributed to this work.