Gateway for:

Member Countries

Myxoviruses Monitoring in Seals Populations


Comparative Molecular Genetic Monitoring of Myxoviruses Circulating in Populations of Seals Phoca Caspia and Phoca Sibirica in Northern Caspian Region and Lake Baikal

Tech Area / Field

  • MED-DIS/Disease Surveillance/Medicine
  • BIO-DIV/Biodiversity/Biotechnology

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Melnikov V G

Leading Institute
State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology VECTOR, Russia, Novosibirsk reg., Koltsovo

Project summary

Project Objective.

Now the world is expecting a new flu pandemic, which is considered inevitable. That’s why researchers of many countries seek to reveal facts indicative of emergence of a new pandemic strain and to identify its potential source.

The final goal of the Project proposed is to clarify the possible routes of emergence and spreading of influenza virus in seal population with the aim to develop the measures for prevention of seal Influenza virus penetration into the human population.

This statement of the problem became possible due to projects commenced earlier - the project on studying avian influenza virus (SRC VB Vector, Koltsovo; Ivanovsky Institute of Virology, Moscow; Athens USDA (USA)) and new project on studying swine influenza virus (SRC VB Vector, Koltsovo; Institute of Virology, Almaty, Kazakhstan; and Memphis, USA). Participants of the Project have a long-term experience in work with influenza and canine distemper viruses, including cDNA cloning, sequencing, and computer analysis of primary sequences.

Expedient sequencing of the complete genomes of canine distemper and influenza viruses isolated form seals will allow us not only to reconstruct a dynamic pattern of mutation accumulation in their genome, but also to monitor the distribution of seasonal changed variants of these viruses in seal population.

Problems of virus molecular evolution and emergence of new virus variants are topical not only from the basic science, but also from the applied standpoint. Understanding of the processes of influenza virus evolution during a 5-10 year period as well as phylogenetic relationships between avian, animal, and human influenza viruses form the necessary grounds for prediction of evolutionary pathways and mechanisms underlying the emergence of new viral strains. Implementation of the Project will allow the mechanisms of infection transmission and the level of population immunity to be studied to predict the development of epidemic processes and design the methods for control of these infections.

The following tasks should be carried to achieve the above goal:

1. Collection of biosamples from seals and identification in them of the virus-specific antigens and nucleotide sequences of myxoviruses circulating in the seal population.

2. Isolation and identification of isolates of viral pathogens from virus-positive samples, and formation of the collection of representative seal virus strains.
3. Determination of complete genomic sequences of the representative strains of the viruses isolated. Analysis of the structure function organization of the genomes sequenced and their comparison with the available sequences of the related viruses of marine birds and mammals. Determination of their phylogenetic positions and epidemic potential.

The Project results will be as follows:

1. Data on viral pathogens circulating in the populations of Caspian and Baikal seals.

2. Collection of viral isolates isolated form ill and dead seals.
3. Data on analysis of primary genomic structures of viral isolates obtained form ill and dead seals that would allow the mechanisms of interspecies transmission of myxoviruses to be clarified and their epidemic potential to seals and, possible, to humans, to be evaluated.
4. Data on specific structure function organization patterns of the myxovirus genomes isolated in the North Caspian region and Baikal in comparison with the genomic organization of available related myxoviruses of marine birds and animals, including seals and humans, which are important for clarifying the mechanisms of type A orthomyxovirus interspecies transmission.
5. Data on the structure function specificity of receptor regions in the nucleotide and amino acid sequences of hemagglutinin gene and its product of type A influenza virus isolated during massive seal death in 2000 and other type A influenza viruses isolated while implementing this Project, which is necessary for evaluation of the epidemic potential of the virus.
6. Model of infection transmission routes in seal population; prediction of development of epidemics.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

Promotional Material

Значимы проект

See ISTC's new Promotional video view