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WHO picks new B strain for 2009-10 flu vaccine

first_imgFeb 13, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – Because of a suboptimal match between this year’s flu vaccine and circulating influenza B viruses, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended changing one of the three strains used in flu vaccines for the Northern Hemisphere next fall and winter.The WHO’s choices for the two influenza A strains remain the same as last year, according to new reports published on the WHO Web site this week. The agency recommended keeping the influenza A/H1N1 and A/H3N2 variants used in this year’s vaccine, both of which are labeled Brisbane strains.The influenza B component of this year’s flu vaccine was from the Yamagata lineage, but the proportion of strains from the Victoria lineage continues to increase and has become predominant in many countries, the WHO said. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) most recent flu surveillance report, for the week of Feb 1 through 7, said that of 78 influenza B viruses that were characterized, 55 belonged to the Victoria lineage.Health officials in the United States have discussed including both lineages in the seasonal vaccine to address the unpredictable prevalence of the influenza B strains, especially since a vaccine against one lineage offers little protection against the other.Last year the WHO recommended a total vaccine makeover for the 2008-09 flu season because of a mismatch to circulating strains the previous season.Each February the WHO assesses the flu virus strains in circulation before picking the strains for the next Northern Hemisphere flu season. It takes about 6 months for vaccine manufacturers to grow the viruses in chicken eggs and formulate them into trivalent (three-strain) vaccines. Changing one or two strains is not unusual.The WHO recommends the following for next season’s vaccine:For the H1N1 component, a strain similar to A/Brisbane/59/2007For the H3N2 component, a strain similar to A/Brisbane/10/2007For the B component, a strain similar to B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus, replacing B/Florida/4/2006The Brisbane strains of H1N1 and H3N2 will be used in this year’s vaccine for the Southern Hemisphere, where the flu season runs from May through October, according to the WHO. However, the influenza B component of the Southern Hemisphere’s vaccine is similar to B/Florida/4/2006.In its full report on the strain selection, the WHO said that between September 2008 and January 2009, Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania all reported influenza activity. Though levels were lower than in the same period last year, activity was higher in some European countries, including the United Kingdom, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Poland, and the Netherlands.In the Northern Hemisphere, countries such as Japan, Tunisia, and European countries reported regional outbreaks of H3N2 in December and January. In the United States, H1N1 viruses predominated, while in Canada, B viruses were more common.H1N1 strains that show resistance to the antiviral drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu), one of two neuraminidase inhibitors recommended for treatment, predominated in most regions of the world. No such resistance was seen in H3N2 or B viruses, and there were no reports of viruses resistant to zanamivir (Relenza).See also:CDC flu surveillance reportJan 16 CIDRAP News story “Experts consider 4-strain flu vaccine to fight B viruses”last_img read more

Premier League clubs agree behind closed-doors return

first_imgRelatedPosts COVID-19: NCAA to revoke erring airlines licence over non-compliance FRSC to Schools: We’ll arrest, prosecute drivers who flout COVID-19 rules Lampard: I still have confidence in Tomori Premier League clubs are all in total agreement that the season needs to be completed amid the coronavirus pandemic. That is according to Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson, who claims it is important for the current campaign to end without “artificial” methods of determining places. The league has been suspended since March 13 due to COVID-19 with Liverpool 25 points clear at the top. Premier League action will not return until April 30 at the very earliest due to fears about resuming games to soon. However, it’s understood matches are more likely to return in the summer – and behind closed doors. Jurgen Klopp’s side need just two more wins to be certain of their first league title in 30 years and Hodgson is adamant the campaign must only finish once all games have been played. In a message to supporters on Palace’s official website, Hodgson said: “Everyone is in total agreement we need an end to this season. We don’t want artificial means of deciding who wins the league, who gets into the Champions League, who gets relegated and promoted. “Ideally our players would have three or four weeks’ minimum to prepare for the first match back, but I accept there may have to be a squeeze on that timeframe. “It might mean extra restrictions at our place of work – the training ground – for example. It may also mean that we have to play our nine remaining matches in a shorter period of time than we normally would have done, and subsequently receive a shorter break between the seasons. “But I think with all of these sacrifices – and I am uncomfortable using that word in such a context – everyone will be more than happy to go along with what it takes in order to get playing again as soon as possible in order to get the season finished.” There had been some claims that the season would be declared null and void or that it would end with the positions staying as they are now should no more games be played. That would see Liverpool win their first Premier League title, while Bournemouth, Aston Villa and Norwich would be relegated. Chelsea would finish in the top four along with Leicester, with Manchester United, Sheffield United and Tottenham missing out. But as long as all Premier League clubs are in agreement over what needs to happen it seems unlikely that the season will not be completed one way or another.Tags: ChelseaCOVID-19Crystal PalaceLiverpoolManchester UnitedRoy Hodgsonlast_img read more