It always amazes me how much effort that our society goes to to track infectious diseases as they spread across the world. Really this probably shouldn't be so surprising to me considering the worry, morbidity and mortality that these infections leave in their wake. One of these infections is of course, influenza and today the European Centres for Disease Control (ECDC) published their characterisation of this seasons influenza viruses. You can read it here and it's worth it, it really is. http://ecdc.europa.eu/en/publications/Publications/Forms/ECDC_DispForm.aspx?ID=1180
Two things are striking in it: 1) Influenza is continuously changing its genome and evolving as well as the relative proportions of each sub-type, as evidenced by sequencing and amino acid sequence production.
2) Looks like these viruses haven't YET evolved in a way that renders this season's vaccine non-functional. So this season we are winning, at least for now.
So remember that doing PCRs, growing viruses and sequencing them doesn't have to be boring and useless....