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09 Oct 2017

WHO Consultation on the Composition of Influenza Vaccines for the southern hemisphere 2018

The WHO Consultation on the Composition of Influenza Vaccines for the Southern Hemisphere 2018 was held at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Melbourne on 25-27 September 2017. Following the Consultation, WHO made the following recommendation:

It is recommended that trivalent vaccines for use in the 2018 influenza season (southern hemisphere winter) contain the following:

- an A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
- an A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019 (H3N2)-like virus;
- a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus.

It is recommended that quadrivalent vaccines containing two influenza B viruses contain the above three viruses and a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus.

This differs from the previous vaccine recommendations (for the northern hemisphere 2017-2018), reflecting changes in circulating A(H3N2) viruses and a growing proportion B/Yamagata lineage viruses. More details about the most recent recommendations can be found at: http://www.who.int/influenza/vaccines/virus/recommendations/2018_south/en/

Contribution of National Influenza Centres to the vaccine recommendations

WHO National Influenza Centres play a critical role in providing influenza samples to WHO Collaborating Centres, not only for the purposes of analysis and surveillance, but also for the provision of potential vaccine candidates.

Samples sent to WHO Collaborating centres over the past 2-3 months prior to the Consultation provided essential data on recently circulating strains and helped to inform the choice of recommended vaccine strains.

The most recently added virus in the vaccine recommendation, A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019, was originally submitted to our Centre by the National Public Health Laboratory (Singapore).

This is in addition to B/Phuket/3073/2013, which was first included in the WHO vaccine recommendation in September 2014 and previously sent to the Centre by the Thai National Influenza Centre (Bangkok, Thailand) in 2013.

As the influenza virus continues to circulate and evolve, the need for constant surveillance remains.

More:

Influenza Updates:  newsletter of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza in Melbourne - Special Update

WHO website

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