St. Jude has been distinguished as a Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance (CEIRS) by the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 2007.
This national-level distinction, renewed with a second seven-year award in 2014, reflects our expertise and robust ongoing research efforts in influenza.
The CEIRS network was developed to provide the information and public health tools needed to control the impact of epidemic influenza and minimize the threat of pandemic influenza.
The St. Jude CEIRS program integrates comprehensive global surveillance with fundamental research. Our research provides critical insight into the mechanisms leading to the emergence of flu pandemics from animal viruses.
Many different influenza viruses circulate in the world’s animal populations. These viruses sometimes cross to humans, causing limited numbers of infections. Less often, these viruses mutate into forms that are able to spread between humans, causing global pandemics.
The CEIRS program aims to unravel critical mysteries in the emergence and spread of influenza viruses. How do new viruses arise? What mutations enable them to spread among the human population and cause a pandemic? What are the options for controlling them?
Specific areas of focus for the St. Jude CEIRS include:
To help answer these critical research questions, we conduct ongoing surveillance of influenza viruses in their natural hosts and the people in contact with the animals. St. Jude leads an international team of investigators focused on identifying these animal flu viruses before they impact human health.
Central to our program is the training and support of young investigators. Along with the data generated through our activities, these talented individuals will support and advance the ongoing pandemic preparedness activities of the U.S. government for years to come.
Stories of success
Learn more about how our CEIRS program is advancing global influenza research and surveillance.
We depend on the disease-fighting immune system to protect us from flu infections or to help us recover if we catch the virus. Now there is evidence the immune system can also help to predict which flu patients will develop severe symptoms and wind up in the hospital.
Scientists from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and China Agricultural University identify the changes in H9N2 flu virus in chickens that could signal emergence of viruses with potential to trigger a pandemic.