WHO Recommends One Strain Change for 2016-17 Flu Vaccine

Date: February 25, 2016

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends changing one strain, for the Northern Hemisphere's 2016-17 flu season, and changing the order of the B strains, based on its advisory group's in-depth analysis of the most recent circulating viruses. Read more>>

An A/Hong Kong H3N2 associated with outbreaks in some countries, was recommended to replace this season's A/Switzerland/9715293/2013, and it was recommended that B/Brisbane/60/2008, change positions with last season’s B/Phuket strain in the trivalent vaccines. For the quadrivalent vaccines, the B/Phuket strain was recommended as the 2nd B strain.

The WHO recommends that trivalent vaccines for use in the 2016-17 influenza season (Northern Hemisphere winter) contain the following:

  • An A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
  • An A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus;
  • A B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus.

The WHO also recommends that quadrivalent vaccines containing two influenza B viruses contain the above three viruses and a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus.

For more information and to read the complete report, visit — www.who.int/influenza/vaccines/virus/recommendations/201602_recommendation.pdf?ua=1

This recommendation by the WHO will be reviewed by the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) on March 4th and a final decision on the 2016-17 influenza vaccine strains will be decided at that time. It is often common that the VRBPAC panel follows the recommendations of the WHO.

The final VRBPAC decision allows vaccine manufacturers to start formulating the upcoming seasonal flu vaccine, a process that takes about 6 months.

Be Prepared This Flu Season
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