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EMA has issued the recommendations for the influenza virus strains that vaccine manufacturers should include in vaccines for the prevention of seasonal influenza from autumn 2020.

Manufacturers of egg-based or live attenuated trivalent vaccines for the 2020/2021 season should include these three virus strains:

  • an A/Guangdong-Maonan/SWL1536/2019 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
  • an A/Hong Kong/2671/2019 (H3N2)-like virus; and
  • a B/Washington/02/2019 (B/Victoria lineage)-like virus.

Manufacturers of cell-based trivalent vaccines for the 2020/2021 season should include these three virus strains:

  • an A/Hawaii/70/2019 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
  • an A/Hong Kong/45/2019 (H3N2)-like virus; and
  • a B/Washington/02/2019 (B/Victoria lineage)-like virus.

For quadrivalent vaccines with two influenza B viruses, a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus should be added to the strains mentioned above.

These recommendations apply to the manufacture of both inactivated and live attenuated influenza vaccines.

Every year, EMA’s ad hoc Influenza Working Group issues EU recommendations for the composition of seasonal influenza vaccines on the basis of observations by the World Health Organization. The recommendations for the influenza season 2020/2021 were endorsed by EMA’s human medicines committee (CHMP) at its March 2020 meeting.

Influenza viruses continuously change and evolve. The periodic replacement of the virus strains contained in influenza vaccines is therefore necessary to keep them effective.

The Agency recommends that marketing authorisation holders submit applications to change the composition of centrally authorised seasonal flu vaccines by 15 June 2020.

Posted on the EMA website on 1 April 2020