New Center to Zero in on Bird Flu

A $1 million National Science Foundation grant is funding the multi-institutional center

A $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation will establish a new multi-institutional center to study bird flu. The International Center for Avian Influenza Pandemic Prediction and Prevention is intended to help researchers predict and prevent avian influenza outbreaks, which can be devastating to both wild birds and poultry as well as humans.

Based at the University of Oklahoma, the ICAIP3 project includes partners from the University of Kansas, the University of California Berkeley, the U.S. Geological Survey and the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Studies on the Ecology of Influenza in Animals and Birds with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The center is being created to monitor the virus around the world, particularly in regions where new strains with pandemic potential are likely.

“You can imagine the value of monitoring wild bird populations and seeing all the standing variation in flu viruses, and being able to say, ‘Hey, this one virus — this is what we need to watch,” said collaborator A. Townsend Peterson, a university distinguished professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and curator of ornithology at the KU Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum.

The ICAIP3 center will be supported by the Predictive Intelligence for Pandemic Preparedness initiative to understand the science behind pandemics and prevent and respond to future outbreaks.

Read more from the University of Kansas.

Header Image: Avian influenza can be devastating to wild birds and poultry, as well as to humans. A new center will focus on helping researchers prevent and respond to outbreaks. Credit: David Frey/TWS