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WHO Testing New Seasonal H3N2 Vaccine Target
Recombinomics Commentary 15:55
August 18, 2011

Recently released H3N2 sequences by the WHO regional center in Australia included a new seasonal H3N2 target, A/Victoria/563/2010 IVR-160.  This sequence follows the release of three H3N2 targets by the CDC, A/Brisbane/11/2010 X197, A/Rhode Island/01/2010 X-199, and A/Perth/10/2010 X-207.  These four targets are being tested as a replacement for the current H3N2 target, A/Perth/16/2009.

The testing of new targets at this time is unusual because at the most recent meetings of the vaccine advisory committees for the US FDA, as well as the WHO meeting, the committees recommended no changes in the three vaccine targets, and that vaccine for the 2011/2012 flu season in the northern hemisphere will be shipping shortly.

The testing of new targets (seasonal H3N2, pandemic H1N1, and influenza B) by the CDC and WHO at this time raises serious concerns that the vaccine for the 2011/2012 season will have limited utility.

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