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September 28

Recommended composition of influenza vaccines for use in the 2016 southern hemisphere influenza season

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended in its recent report (dated 24 September 2015) that influenza vaccines for use in the 2016 southern hemisphere influenza season contain the following influenza vaccine viruses:

– 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.

In addition, WHO has recommended that quadrivalent influenza vaccines containing two influenza B viruses, contain all of the above three viruses, and, a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus.

The influenza vaccine viruses recommended for the 2016 southern hemisphere influenza season are different from those used for the 2015 southern hemisphere influenza season, and, from those influenza vaccine viruses recommended by WHO for the northern hemisphere 2015-2016 influenza season.

Two changes were recommended by WHO for the 2016 southern hemisphere influenza vaccine composition.
The first change is an update for the influenza A(H3N2) vaccine component. WHO determined that the egg-grown A/Hong Kong/4801/2014-like virus was antigenically and genetically more similar to the predominant, circulating 3C.2a viruses than the egg-propagated A/Switzerland virus that was recommended for the 2015 southern hemisphere influenza season.

For the second influenza vaccine component change, a B/Victoria lineage virus was selected for the influenza B component of the trivalent influenza vaccines. This change in the trivalent influenza vaccines B component was made to account for an increasing number of B/Victoria lineage viruses at the end of the northern hemisphere season, and, through the southern hemisphere season that were observed by the WHO in data collected from several regions between February 2015 to August 2015.

The WHO makes influenza vaccine strain recommendations each September for the following influenza vaccine season in the southern hemisphere. The vast majority of influenza vaccines produced globally use egg-based manufacturing processes. These manufacturing processes often require 6 to 8 months in order to approve, and produce, the hundreds of millions of influenza vaccine doses available for the southern hemisphere influenza season each year.

For further detail, you can click on the link to the WHO report (dated 24 September 2015) that is available from:

http://www.who.int/influenza/vaccines/virus/recommendations/2016_south/en/