New guidance on clinical management of influenza infections

23 October 2017

WHO is currently developing a standard guideline on clinical management of influenza virus infection. The aim of this guidance is to provide comprehensive standard guidance in the clinical management of severe influenza infections: seasonal, pandemic and zoonotic. The guidance will be applicable to all populations of the world including vulnerable groups at higher risk of severe disease (e.g. infants and the elderly, pregnant women, patients with co-morbidities, the immunosuppressed, displaced persons). The guidance will have relevance in all health settings and will concentrate on severely ill patients.

The process of this guidance includes rigorous evidence review and strictly adheres to the process defined by the Organization for developing its recommendations (see Guidelines Review Committee). The membership of a guideline development group (GDG) was proposed to cover a variety of expertise, perspectives and geographical regions of the world. The GDG will convene in Geneva, Switzerland, from 14 to 17 November 2017. GDG members will contribute to decision-making and formulation of recommendations for this guidance.

Topics that are being systematically reviewed include effects of influenza antiviral medicines, and vaccination of immunocompromised patients and of health care workers for the protection of patients at higher risk of acute, severe, respiratory disease. In order to develop this guidance, WHO considered a wide range of evidence in addition to that of clinical trials. The reviewed research outcomes are scored using the GRADE approach in order to weigh the recommendations. Furthermore, expected benefits and potential harms accompany each recommendation. The final guideline is expected to be completed by March 2018.