Influenza

Availability of a new recombinant H5N1 vaccine virus

May 2009

A new H5N1 recombinant vaccine virus has been developed by the WHO Collaborating Center for the Surveillance, Epidemiology and Control of Influenza at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (WHO CC), Atlanta, USA from A/Egypt/2321-NAMRU3/2007 (H5N1; Clade 2.2.1), thanks to the Ministry of Health & Population of Egypt for providing the virus specimens. This recombinant vaccine virus is available for distribution. As with all seasonal and A(H5N1) influenza viruses, WHO has selected and used for vaccine development, the sequences of the haemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) of A/Egypt/2321-NAMRU3/2007, can be found on the public website of GenBank:

Institutions, companies and others interested in pandemic vaccine development, who wish to receive these candidate vaccine viruses should contact either the WHO Global Influenza Programme at GISN@who.int or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at the address below:

WHO Collaborating Center for the Surveillance, Epidemiology and Control of Influenza,
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Influenza Division, NCIRD, CCID
1600 Clifton Rd., MS G-16
Atlanta, GA 30333
Fax: (404) 639-2350
E-mail: rvd6@cdc.gov (Attention: Dr. Ruben Donis)

Studies on the antigenic properties of A(H5N1) vaccine viruses and their relation to the emerging H5N1 viruses are ongoing in the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance Network.

The Global Influenza Program has been closely monitoring the antigenic and genetic evolution of the circulating viruses, especially human virus isolates. Countries are encouraged to share with WHO their specimens and/or isolates, both from humans and animals, for their inclusion in the WHO H5N1 vaccine virus development and selection process, in addition to other activities of public health significance.

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