Thai flu type to be used in WHO shot

Thai flu type to be used in WHO shot

People receive a flu shot at the Government Complex on Chaeng Watthana Road in 2021. (Photo: Apichit Jinakul)
People receive a flu shot at the Government Complex on Chaeng Watthana Road in 2021. (Photo: Apichit Jinakul)

One of the three influenza strains selected by World Health Organization advisory groups for the production of a new influenza vaccine for use in the Southern Hemisphere in 2024 is a flu virus lineage detected in Thailand and whose genome has been sequenced here, the Ministry of Public Health revealed on Tuesday.

The composition of the new trivalent (three-strain) influenza vaccine was selected by vaccine regulatory agencies, influenza vaccine manufacturers, and members of the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS) at their meetings in Geneva late September, said Yongyot Thammawut, a deputy permanent secretary of the ministry who is serving temporarily as an acting permanent secretary.

"The inclusion of the influenza lineage detected in Thailand in the 2024 influenza vaccine has reflected the effective cooperation and pivotal role of Thailand's Ministry of Public Health in the global efforts to ensure the health security of the world's population," said Dr Yongyot.

The strain in question was detected, and its genome sequenced by the Department of Medical Sciences (DMS) as part of the ministry's surveillance of influenza virus strains circulated widely in the country, he said.

The ministry's influenza virus surveillance network comprises the DMS, Department of Disease Control, a number of hospitals and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's office in Thailand, he said.

The network continues to closely monitor the strains and significant mutations while reporting findings to the WHO on a weekly basis to ensure the effectiveness of the WHO's disease prevention control measures, as well as providing constant updates on virus activities, he said.

Currently, the number of new infections in Thailand is continuing to rise, with the influenza A (H3N2) virus dominating and accounting for around 66% of all cases, said the doctor.

The influenza B virus was found to be responsible for about 19% of new infections and the influenza A (H1N1) virus for 14% of new cases, he said.

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