WHO Say Regular Flu Vaccines Should Protect Against H1N1

The AP (2/19, Cheng) reports that the World Health Organization is encouraging swine flu "to be added to regular flu vaccines next season," as health officials expect H1N1 to "remain a significant threat." WHO flu chief Keiji Fukuda said the swine flu vaccine should be combined with the vaccine for regular flu, "after the agency met this week to decide which strains should be recommended to drugmakers for vaccines." Fukuda stressed, however, that "the recommendation to put the (swine flu) virus into the vaccine for the fall and winter is really a separate issue from whether the pandemic is over." The agency "will hold a meeting of experts Tuesday to discuss whether the pandemic has peaked...said" Fukuda.

CQ HealthBeat (2/19, Attias) reports, "The other two strains recommended for the northern hemisphere's influenza vaccine next season are the H3N2 and B viruses, which have increased their activity in some countries and remain persistent throughout the year." Fukuda said national health authorities would debate "whether all three viruses will be combined into one trivalent vaccine...or whether the pandemic H1N1 virus should be administered separately." The NPR (2/19, Gura) "Two-way" blog reports, "Advisors to the US Food and Drug Administration will meet next Monday, to consider the recipe for next season's flu vaccine," and are "expected to follow the WHO's recommendation." The NPR (2/18, Knox) "Shots" blog mentioned the WHO's announcement, while Reuters (2/19, Lynn) also covered this story