In Focus

Queen's University Belfast

GISAID Training Workshop at Options XI

On the occasion of the 70th Anniversary of GISRS and in collaboration with the World Health Organization, the GISAID Initiative hosted a three-day bioinformatics training workshop at Queen’s University Belfast (27-29 September 2022). The educational programme included instructions on standard and advanced features & functionalities and use of integrated tools for analysis on the GISAID platform. 

GISAID also exhibited during Options XI for the Control of Influenza to showcase new developments during the first major in-person gathering of public health professionals since its workshop in Singapore, 2019. 

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Recommended composition of influenza virus vaccines for use in the 2023 Southern Hemisphere Influenza Season announced

(Dublin, Ireland) An advisory group of experts taking part in a meeting organized by the WHO Global Influenza Programme between 19-22 September 2022 analyzed influenza virus surveillance data generated by the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS), and issued on 23 September 2022, recommendations on the composition of the influenza vaccines for the following influenza season.

These recommendations are used by the national vaccine regulatory agencies and the pharmaceutical companies to develop, produce and license influenza vaccines.

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GISAID joins the G20 Joint Finance & Health Ministerial Meeting

Yogyakarta, 20-21 June. Under the motto ‘Strengthening Global Health Architecture’ a delegation from GISAID attended the G20 Finance and Health Ministers meeting hosted by Indonesia, to discuss with G20 Member States’ and its partners their vision for GISAID+ (GISAID plus).

Global leaders reflected on the need to coordinate and strengthen resources during future pandemics. In particular Member States stressed the essential role GISAID plays in global health security, and discussed how global leaders could support GISAID’s expansion as a global resource to respond to other priority pathogens with major impact and pandemic-potential.

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3D structure of spike with amino acid changes in Omicron

Omicron discovered on all seven continents

The unique mix of spike amino acid changes in Omicron (clade GRA, lineage B.1.1.529 and descendants BA.1 and BA.2) is of interest as it comprises several that were previously identified to affect receptor binding and antibody escape. As with all low frequency variants with potentially relevant changes, these need to be monitored closely to study if they spread more widely as a consequence of immune escape, or altered receptor interactions. Omicron variants with and without a deletion in spike and a few other changes - BA.1 and BA.2 respectively - are co-circulating, complicating the use of PCR tests to diagnose Omicron based on “S-gene target failure”.

The timely detection of Omicron variants was made possible by researchers from Botswana, Hong Kong, South Africa who shared the first genomes of the variant.

Track the variant >>

CBD Study finds 'GISAID might provide useful lessons and insight to ABS discussions'

A peer-reviewed fact-finding and scoping study on digital sequence information on genetic resources in the context of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol, highlights key advantages of GISAID’s sharing mechanism and a fair and equitable benefit-sharing resulting from access to data.

With the core principals of timely international sharing of health data for protecting populations against lethal infectious disease outbreaks and adherence to scientific etiquette of acknowledgement of the source of data has resulted in global trust and confidence in GISAID. 

> download the fact-finding & scoping study

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Public-Private Partnerships of the GISAID Initiative

The GISAID Initiative involves public-private partnerships, among them the partnership with the Federal Republic of Germany, and governmental public-health and academic institutions in Argentina, Brazil, China, Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, and the support by Friends of GISAID, a registered non-profit association and administrative arm of the Initiative.

Congratulations to GISAID for ten years of successful work on pandemic influenza preparedness. As one of the key players in ensuring effective data sharing GISAID has made a significant contribution to global health security

Prof. Jane Halton AO PSM

Commemorating the centenary of the 1918 pandemic, the most catastrophic event in the recorded history of influenza, it is reassuring to know that GISAID is ready and prepared when a similar event emerges and threatens global health. Congratulations on bringing together one of the most successful global collaborations ever achieved

Prof. Dr Rob Webster

The unique contribution of the GISAID data sharing mechanism is the confidence it has engendered among scientific and political communities as it has added to their capabilities to collaborate more effectively to combat influenza viruses

Dr med David Nabarro

We do need substantially innovative mechanisms for microbe sharing, if mankind is to survive future pandemics. GISAID is an excellent example!!!

Dr Suwit Wibulpolprasert

IFPMA acknowledges GISAID’s important role in providing the platform for the open and timely sharing of influenza data and building greater trust among countries and stakeholders, a key element to influenza global pandemic preparedness

Thomas B. Cueni
Director General

The tenth anniversary of GISAID represents a landmark in global solidarity. A pandemic strain of influenza is perhaps the world's greatest threat. Everything GISAID stands for: virus sharing, cutting-edge research, open access, and international cooperation to guarantee health security couldn't be more important

Prof. Lawrence O. Gostin

GISAID’s trustworthy data sharing principles forever transformed global collaboration in the fight against influenza, enabling unprecedented rapid response to outbreaks. In 2013, Nature called China’s sharing of H7N9 avian influenza data through GISAID ‘

Prof. Dr George Fu Gao

The core principles enshrined in GISAID's sharing mechanism are a shining beacon of hope. A recognized leader in influenza pandemic preparedness, thanks to its brilliant performance in data sharing

Ambassador Makarim Wibisono

A key to protecting the world from future viral threats is having immediate and open access to critical viral data.  GISAID has established a highly effective, trusted and time-tested model for influenza data sharing that could serve as an important model for other viral families

Dr Dennis Carroll

GISAID successfully built upon the collaborative ethos of the 70-year old WHO Global Influenza Programme, to complement and extend the sharing of viruses, reagents & essential information

Dr med Wenqing Zhang

The GISAID Initiative was established to champion (and enhance) rapid sequence data sharing for seasonal and pandemic influenza preparedness - a global public health imperative. GISAID’s success exceeded our expectations and provides an important model for rapid data sharing for other pathogens with pandemic potential

Dr Nancy J. Cox


Not all big ideas become a reality and not all big ideas fill a global need. As a public-private partnership GISAID is a model for data sharing in the digital age. On its 10th anniversary we may look back at the initial inspiration and the headline of the supporting editorial in Nature that puts the point succinctly:

Dr med Bruce G. Gellin

ECDC congratulates GISAID for a successful 10 years of advocating for and implementing sharing of influenza sequence data. The initiative plays a key role in global and European pandemic preparedness and increases our understanding of the annual influenza seasons

Dr Mike Catchpole

GISAID has advanced influenza virus data sharing to a new level, greatly contributing to the global effort to detect, respond, and mitigate seasonal and pandemic influenza

Prof. Dr med Peter Jay Hotez

I congratulate the GISAID Initiative on its ten-year anniversary as it continues its important work to promote the international sharing of influenza virus sequences and data

Ambassador John E. Lange

Over the past decade, GISAID has been an invaluable global partner in fostering open access to data related to influenza, a central issue related to influenza and all EIDs

Prof. Dr med Keiji Fukuda

GISAID encourages increased collection and rapid dissemination of data that improves our understanding of the complex and dynamic epidemiology of influenza viruses. On behalf of OFFLU network, we offer our congratulations on the contribution GISAID has made to build international collaboration over the last 10 years

Dr Peter Daniels
Dr David Swayne

The pioneering concept of transparent data sharing developed GISAID into the premier source of influenza virus sequence information and proven its worth in outbreak situations

Prof. Dr Thomas C. Mettenleiter

Ten years after GISAID first introduced its game-changing mechanism, breaking data sharing barriers, it continues to be a most trusted leader in pandemic preparedness & response

Prof. Dr Yuelong Shu

GISAID has become the most complete public database for influenza virus sequence data in support of fundamental science and public and animal health applications

Prof. Dr Ron Fouchier

By sharing influenza virus sequences among scientists around the world, GISAID has had a tremendous impact on influenza virus research

Prof. Dr Yoshihiro Kawaoka

From the latest seasonal to new zoonotic and animal influenza viruses, GISAID always has the most relevant strains and exciting new analysis tools

Dr Sebastian Maurer-Stroh

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