What comes after a ‘mild’ flu season? Well, it’s complicated, said Beverly Taylor, Head of Influenza Scientific Affairs at global influenza vaccines provider, Seqirus, in a new PharmaTimes.com editorial.
While there were very few flu cases recorded worldwide, influenza hasn’t gone away. In fact, the light case load during the pandemic complicates the matter, wrote Taylor.
“Circulation of flu was restricted to certain 'pockets' due to COVID-19 measures and higher than normal flu vaccine uptake around the world,” she said in the editorial. “This led to an abnormally low level of flu circulation. This has made it more difficult than ever to predict which strains will dominate in the upcoming season.”
Still, the WHO has selected a strain from Cambodia that has a high chance of becoming the dominant strain in the upcoming season. Seqirus and other flu vaccine manufacturers work with the WHO to align their vaccine production with the global prediction.
The industry has already started making vaccines against that strain so “we’re ready to help protect the elderly and other at-risk populations from the worst effects of the upcoming seasonal influenza virus,” Taylor wrote. Rare disease patients, especially those with immunodeficiency diseases, are at higher risk from the flu and may be unable to receive a flu vaccine. They rely on herd immunity to avoid getting sick.
At Seqirus, a business of global biotech leader, CSL, Taylor is the Lead for both the WHO and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA).
“Flu will return, make no doubt about it. The good thing is, just like last time, we’re prepared and we’re already making vaccines ready for the coming flu season.”
Read the full article on PharmaTimes: Flu is ever evolving and so are we