Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals


Introduction and influenza projects


Influenza is an acute respiratory illness that affects the upper and/or lower respiratory tract and is caused by an influenza virus, usually of type A or B. The repetitive occurrence of yearly, seasonal influenza epidemics is due to the fact that influenza viruses are continuously changing antigenically. Influenza A viruses may also cause worldwide pandemics characterized by rapid dissemination of a new, virulent influenza A subtypes.

Immunization is the major public health measure for the prevention of influenza virus infection. To face the continuous change of circulating influenza viruses, virus strains to be included in the vaccine are updated annually so as to match the circulating virus strains. Meanwhile, the recent emergence of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 in poultry farms and markets and its transmission to humans with a high case fatality rate, has revived the fear of a possible new pandemic of influenza with high mortality and planetary consequences.

In early April 2009, a new influenza A (H1N1) virus emerged among humans in California and Mexico, quickly spreading worldwide through human-to-human transmission, and generating the first influenza pandemic of the twenty-first century.

To read more about influenza:

IVR influenza projects

The Influenza project within the Initiative for Vaccines Research sets agenda and monitors research on new vaccines, related technologies and implementation strategies in order to generate information for policy recommendations. More specifically it focuses on the following areas:

  • Research and Implementation: pipeline reviews and clinical trials tables;
  • Seasonal and pandemic influenza vaccines: cost effectiveness of influenza vaccines, technical and regulatory issues regarding supply and demand of influenza vaccines, influenza vaccines effectiveness studies;
  • Implementation of research that deals with obstacles in seasonal influenza immunization and mathematical modeling for influenza vaccine impact;
  • Technical information for policy: WHO influenza position paper and seasonal flu vaccine recommendations.

Maternal influenza immunization project

  • Executive summary
    Building an immunization platform in conjunction with antenatal care in low and middle-income countries.

Tables on influenza vaccine clinical trials