• Open Access

Influenza research in the Eastern Mediterranean Region: the current state and the way forward



We searched published literature, surveillance data sources, and sequence databases to analyze the state of influenza virus research and to identify research gaps in the World Health Organization (WHO) Eastern Mediterranean Region. PubMed, Scopus, and other databases were searched for influenza publications and nucleotide sequences. WHO's FluNet was searched to determine virologic reporting from each country. We found that influenza research has increased in recent years with the emergence of H5N1 and pandemic H1N1. In some countries, influenza research is growing and is diversified, covering epidemiologic, veterinary, and basic science aspects. However, the volume and diversity of influenza research is low, especially in light of the burden of influenza in the region. To have contemporary and advanced research in the region, systematic surveillance in humans and animals, as well as at the human–animal interface, needs to be boosted. Surveillance data should then be used to answer more important epidemiologic, virologic, immunologic, and basic science questions.