A USDA Agricultural Research Service scientist will be honored next week for her outstanding work in profiling the genetic evolution of swine influenza type A viruses and establishing a national IAV surveillance system.
Amy L. Vincent will receive the Arthur S. Flemming Award for her exceptional scientific achievements in the field of animal health on Monday. A medical veterinary officer with the ARS National Animal Diseases Center in Ames, Iowa, Vincent will be among 12 total award recipients from across the federal government who will be honored during a recognition ceremony on the campus of George Washington University. Together with the Arthur S. Flemming Commission, GWU’s Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration presents the awards annually in recognition of the outstanding achievements of Federal employees with three to 15 years of service.
Among her achievements, Vincent led in profiling the genetic evolution of swine influenza type A viruses and how this affects the animals’ immune responses to the pathogens. She also initiated a global nomenclature system to expedite vaccine selections, strain identification and comparisons, and studies of viral evolution and “mixing,” whereby influenza strains from different host species exchange their genes.
Starting in 2008, Vincent also led the way in establishing a national IAV surveillance system in collaboration with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The USDA surveillance system remains successful today, allowing stakeholders to analyze and monitor emerging swine influenza strains, as well as learn how they evolve genetically and compare to past virus strains that have circulated within the U.S. pig population.
This capability proved critical in 2009, when federal and state public health officials used the surveillance system to orchestrate a multi-faceted response to U.S. outbreaks of H1N1, a new influenza strain that caused flu illness in both pigs and people and cost the U.S. pork industry over $1.58 billion in lost revenues from April to December of that year. Vincent’s contributions include developing a model system for selecting the most effective vaccines to use and avoiding strain-mismatches that can exacerbate rather than mitigate influenza symptoms in affected swine.
Flemming awards are presented to winners in one of five categories. Vincent will be recognized in the Social Science, Clinical Trials and Translational Research category.