ARS Scientist Honored for Outstanding Contributions to Animal Health

( USDA ARS )

Amy L. Vincent, an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist, received the honorable Arthur S. Flemming Award for her outstanding scientific achievements in the field of animal health on Monday.

Vincent is a medical veterinary officer with the ARS National Animal Diseases Center in Ames, Iowa. She is among 12 total award recipients from across the Federal government who were honored during a recognition ceremony on the campus of George Washington University on Monday. T

She led in profiling the genetic evolution of swine influenza type A viruses (IAV) and how this affects the animals' immune responses to the pathogens. She also initiated a global nomenclature (naming) 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, a USDA ARS release said.

Vincent also led the way in establishing a national IAV surveillance system starting in 2008 in collaboration with USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This 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.

In 2009, this capability proved critical when Federal and State public health officials used the surveillance system to respond to U.S. outbreaks of H1N1, a new influenza strain that caused flu illness in both pigs and people, costing the U.S. pork industry over $1.58 billion in lost revenues from April to December of that year.

Her 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, the release said.


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