Influenza viruses are persistently threatening public health, causing annual epidemics and sporadic pandemics due to rapid viral evolution. Vaccines are used to prevent influenza infections but the composition of the influenza vaccines have to be updated regularly to ensure its efficacy. Computational tools and analyses have become increasingly important in guiding the process of vaccine selection. By constructing time-series training samples with splittings and embeddings, we develop a computational method for predicting suitable strains as the recommendation of the influenza vaccines using recurrent neural networks (RNNs). The Encoder-decoder architecture of RNN model enables us to perform sequence-to-sequence prediction. We employ this model to predict the prevalent sequence of the H3N2 viruses sampled from 2006 to 2017. The identity between our predicted sequence and recommended vaccines is greater than 98% and the indicates their antigenic similarity. The multi-step vaccine prediction further demonstrates the robustness of our method which achieves comparable results in contrast to single step prediction. The results show significant matches of the recommended vaccine strains to the circulating strains. We believe it would facilitate the process of vaccine selection and surveillance of seasonal influenza epidemics.
About The Expert
Chee Keong Kwoh