The World Health Organisation (WHO) Consultation and Information meeting on the composition of influenza virus vaccines for the southern hemisphere (Winter 2020) was held in Geneva from 23 to 27 September.
Participants represented laboratories working within the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System, including NIBSC which is one of 4 global Essential Regulatory Laboratories.
This expert group makes annual recommendations on the compositions of influenza vaccines for each hemisphere. These are based on the antigenic and genetic characteristics of recently circulating viruses and antibody responses to recent vaccines.
The recommendation was that quadrivalent vaccines for the southern hemisphere (2020) contain:
- an A/Brisbane/02/2018 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
- an A/South Australia/34/2019 (H3N2)-like virus (*)
- a B/Washington/02/2019-like virus (*)
- a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus
Two strains (*) of vaccine virus have changed since the recommendation for the northern hemisphere vaccine for the 2019/20 winter.
The influenza team at NIBSC is now preparing candidate vaccine virus material for shipping to manufacturers so they can identify those best suited to large-scale production.
In parallel, a number of serological reference materials have to be produced and evaluated in a matter of weeks so that the manufacturers, and others, can check the potency of the new vaccine components.
These materials will be added to our Influenza Resource Centre reagent list as they become available.