Influenza: WHO announces composition of next vaccine

The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced the composition of the new influenza vaccine. It will be administered next winter in the northern hemisphere.

While the flu epidemic comes to an end in France after raging for nine weeks, the World Health Organization (WHO) has unveiled the composition of its new vaccine against the virus. It will be administered next winter in the northern hemisphere. Implementing this strategy also upstream aims to prevent seasonal flu, prevent the virus from spreading from animals to humans and prepare for an influenza pandemic, says the Organization.

Every year, the WHO determines the composition of the vaccine several months before the arrival of the influenza epidemic. Regarding the northern hemisphere, it predicts in February the viruses that will circulate the following winter according to data from its national centers of influenza, spread over a hundred countries. Thus, manufacturers have a few months before them to produce the necessary vaccines.

Influenza is caused by a virus that attacks mainly the upper respiratory tract: nose, throat, bronchi, and rarely to the lungs. In detail, influenza viruses are of three types: A, B and C. The first is the most dangerous. Because type A evolves in a very short time, which makes it very difficult to fight. It caused several deadly pandemics like the famous Spanish flu that killed more than 20 million people in 1918. In 1968, the influenza in Hong Kong triggered a pandemic. In 2009, it was H1N1, a new type A virus, that was making its own. Avian influenza, which affects birds, is also a type A virus. The type B virus, on the other hand, is much less serious, leading only to localized epidemics. As for type C, its symptoms resemble those of a cold.

One billion people with influenza every year in the world

The influenza vaccine for the winter of 2019-2020 will therefore consist of a type A (H1N1) virus collected in 2018 in Brisbane, Australia, a type A (H3N2) collected in 2017 in Kansas in the United States. United States, a type B collected in 2017 in Colorado in the United States and a type B collected in 2013 in Phuket, Thailand.

Every year, the flu affects one billion people around the world each year. Of these cases, three to five million are serious and cause between 290,000 and 650,000 respiratory deaths. Indeed, if the infection usually lasts one to two weeks, causing a high fever, dry cough, an itchy throat and rhinitis, in the most fragile people (the youngest, the oldest and the sick with pathologies such as lung disease, diabetes, cancer, heart or kidney problems), it can degenerate and be fatal.

In France, the epidemic was less severe this year than the previous winter. It began in January, later, and at the last census on March 11, had 7,200 deaths against 12,982 the year before. "The epidemic has gone up and down very quickly, there has been a higher proportion of hospitalizations, but it has not been severe enough to result in an abnormally high number of deaths," concludes Serge Smadja. , president of SOS Doctors Grand Paris, interviewed by The Parisian.

Video: June 2019 ACIP Meeting - Agency Updates; Influenza Vaccines (December 2019).