Here at virology blog we have been speculating for a week why sequences of the Mexican influenza virus isolates have not been available. Today we received a comment from Dr. Ruben Donis, who we quoted in a previous post. Dr. Donis wrote:
Thank you for the nice vignette about the ScienceInsider interview. I would like to point out that full genome sequences of Mexican viruses have been available in the public domain at the GISAID database http://www.gisaid.org since April 24, 2009. Sequences were posted in the public domain as soon as they were completed and curated. The availability of sequences at GISAID was also posted at the WHO website (pdf)
I thank Dr. Donis for clarifying this situation. Clearly I and many readers of virology blog had missed the original WHO statement, and unfortunately we took the lack of sequence information as a sign of greed or evil intent. My apologies to all who were offended.
GISAID is the Global Initiative on Sharing Influenza Data, established in 2006 to help sharing data on influenza virus:
Several countries and international agencies have recently taken steps to improve sharing of influenza data following the initiative of leading veterinary virologists in the field of avian influenza. However, the current level of collection and sharing of data is inadequate given the magnitude of the threat. We propose to expand and complement existing efforts with the creation of a global consortium – the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID) – that would foster international sharing of avian influenza isolates and data.
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