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As reported in Communicable Diseases Intelligence in October,1 the Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee (AIVC) recommended that, for the influenza vaccine for 2001 in Australia, the Influenza B strain be changed to a B/Sichuan/379/99-like strain; whether the B/Victoria/504/00 influenza strain would be suitable as an endorsed 2001 vaccine strain awaited further testing.
At a recent meeting the AIVC has decided that both B/Johannesburg/5/99 and B/Victoria/504/2000 are suitable B/Sichuan/379/99-like strains for vaccine production. The decision to recommend an alternative strain was taken to give the manufacturers flexibility in maximising yield in the production of the vaccine.
The AIVC emphasised that the decision related solely to production yield considerations and that in terms of antigenicity and effectiveness, the two strains should be regarded as equivalent.
1. Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee. Australian recommendations for the Influenza Vaccine composition for the 2001 season. Commun Dis Intell 2000;24:306.
This article was published in Communicable Diseases Intelligence Volume 24, No 12, December 2000.