Availability of new H5N1 prototype strain for influenza pandemic vaccine development
A new H5N1 recombinant vaccine strain, NIBRG-23, has been developed by the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control, England from A/turkey/Turkey/1/2005, selected from a genetic group containing the majority of A(H5N1) viruses since mid-2005. NIBRG-23 is available for distribution, under a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA). As with all seasonal and A(H5N1) influenza strains WHO has selected and used for vaccine development, the sequences of haemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) of the A/turkey/Turkey/1/2005 strain can be found on the public web site of Los Alamos National Laboratory database.
Institutions, companies and others interested in pandemic vaccine development who wish to receive this prototype strain should contact either the WHO Global Influenza Programme at firstname.lastname@example.org or the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control at the address below:
National Institute for Biological Standards and Control, Blanche Lane, South Mimms, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire EN6 3QG, England (fax: +44 1707 646730; e-mail: email@example.com)
Studies on antigenic properties of A(H5N1) vaccine reference strains and their relation to the emerging H5N1 viruses are ongoing in the WHO H5 Reference Laboratory Network.
The Global Influenza Programme has been closely monitoring the antigenic and genetic evolution of the circulating viruses, especially human isolates. Countries are encouraged to share with WHO their specimens/isolates, both from humans and animals, in order to be included in WHO's H5N1 vaccine selection and development and other activities of public health significance.