Influenza

WHO Consultation and Information Meeting on the Composition of Influenza Virus Vaccines for the Northern Hemisphere 2012-2013

WHO Consultation on the Composition of Influenza Virus Vaccines for the Northern Hemisphere 2012-2013

20 to 22 February 2012

Meeting venue

World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland

Background

The periodic replacement of virus strains contained in influenza vaccine is necessary due to the constant evolution of influenza viruses, including those circulating and infecting humans, which can change their antigenic and genetic characteristics.

Twice annually, WHO organizes consultations with an advisory group of experts to analyse influenza virus surveillance data generated by the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS). The analyses are used to issue recommendations on the composition of the influenza vaccine for the following influenza season. These recommendations are used by the national vaccine regulatory agencies and the pharmaceutical companies to develop, produce and license influenza vaccines.

Objectives

  • Analyse the antigenic and genetic characteristics of influenza viruses circulating and infecting humans, taking into consideration of available epidemiological and clinical information from individual countries and regions;
  • Make recommendations on the composition of the influenza vaccines for use in the northern hemisphere 2012-2013;
  • Review the antigenic and genetic characteristics of recent A(H5N1) viruses that the WHO Collaborating Centres of the GISRS received and the need to develop new A(H5N1) candidate vaccine viruses for pandemic preparedness purposes;
  • Review the antigenic and genetic characteristics of other subtype or variant influenza viruses, if any, infecting humans recently, and the need to develop new candidate vaccine viruses for pandemic preparedness purposes.

Participants (by invitation only)

  • Representatives from the WHO Collaborating Centres for influenza (CCs) of GISRS;
  • Representatives from the WHO Essential Regulatory Laboratories (ERLs) of GISRS;
  • Representatives from National Influenza Centres and the WHO H5 Reference Laboratories of GISRS;
  • Experts on antigenic cartography;
  • Representatives from the OIE/FAO Network of expertise on animal influenza (OFFLU).

Provisional main agenda items

  • Review of antigenic and genetic characterization data of seasonal, A(H5N1) and other subtypes or variant influenza viruses analysed by CCs and other reference laboratories;
  • Review of the global influenza activity;
  • Analysis of results of vaccine serological studies;
  • Recommendations for influenza vaccine composition for the northern hemisphere 2012-2013;
  • Review of the need and subsequent selection of new A(H5N1) and other subtype or variant viruses for the development of new candidate vaccine viruses for pandemic preparedness purposes;
  • Discussion of other relevant topics.
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