General Article

Can We Predict the Rates of Mutation of Influenza Virus Strains?

Can We Predict the Rates of Mutation of Influenza Virus Strains?

It seems as if our mathematical prediction software is getting rather good these days. Did you know that we have mathematical formulas, along with the computational predictions used to estimate “sand avalanches” based on the degree of slope, wind, weight of sand, and when one additional 100 lb. layer would trigger the event? It’s just amazing all that we can do to predict what we once considered random and unpredictable.

Not long ago, I read an interesting set of research papers by Guang Wu, a Chinese Researcher working on the influenza strains, and trying to prevent massive population deaths from a mutated deadly strain of Influenza, such as a bird flu or swine flu pandemic. It estimates the rates of mutation, disease spread rates, and challenges in the future, which can be calculated. He has considered many different mathematic scenarios for these things.

One paper he wrote on Monte Carlo mathematic formulas for prediction is interesting, and probably worthy of a read if you are fascinated by such things. These types of topics do challenge the mind, and there is also a very good TED Conference talk video that I’d also recommend on bacteria communication, during attrition phases, and as they grow in numbers and trigger their own dominance once they have the synergy of numbers to overpower the immune system. In a way it’s a lot like war strategy.

Guang’s work in the H1N1 and related flu strains takes this discussion to yet another level. Other books I recommend reading on are;

Virus Hunters of CDC,


Hot Spot,

Cobra Event,

Gravity by Tess Garretsen,

Andromeda Strain

After you review all this, I’d like you to check out the National Science Foundation and study up on the CDC computer models of the spread of the virus within a region or country, and see the issues of the virus growing inside of the individual similar in nature. Please consider this.