Dr. Richard Webby, St. Jude Infectious Diseases Department and WHO Vaccine Composition Team Member, will take part in meeting to analyze flu data and offer recommendations
MEMPHIS, TENN. – As early warning signs based on flu activity already seen this year in the Southern Hemisphere indicate the potential for a severe 2019 flu season in North America, the vaccine composition team, including world-renowned flu-expert, Richard Webby, Ph.D. faculty member of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Infectious Diseases Department, arescheduled to meet next week at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.
The World Health Organization’s meeting on the composition of the influenza virus vaccine is scheduled to take place next week from September 23rd through the 26th where vaccine composition team members will analyze flu virus surveillance data from the WHO’s Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS) and issue recommendations on the composition of the flu vaccine. The recommendations are used by the national vaccine regulatory agencies and pharmaceutical companies to develop, produce and license influenza vaccines.
Webby, one of a select group of scientists responsible for determining which flu vaccines will be put into circulation each year, is hopeful about the 2018-2019 flu vaccine composition’s ability to mitigate the virus currently in circulation.
“This year’s flu vaccine has been reformulated and updated based on last year’s flu season,” Webby said. “We can look to the Southern Hemisphere, where a severe flu season is already in full swing. Although it’s too early to make predictions those early warning signs make it even more imperative that all people get a flu shot or nasal mist for equal amounts of protection.”
“The flu shot is a valuable and life-saving public health tool. Getting the flu vaccine isn’t just about protecting your health, it’s also about protecting those around you who are vulnerable like the elderly, children and those with serious health issues. The more people who get the flu shot, the less chance the virus can spread while protecting more people,” Webby said.
Dr. Richard Webby, Ph.D. is also the Director of the World Health Organization’s Collaborating Center on the Ecology of Influenza in Animals and Birds that focuses on understanding influenza and improving vaccines to combat the virus.
Dr. Webby has been a leading expert voice on the importance of getting the flu-shot with guest pieces in FOXNEWS.com, Time and Newsweek.
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St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. St. Jude is ranked the No. 1 pediatric cancer hospital by U.S. News & World Report. Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing and food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. To learn more, visit stjude.org or follow St. Jude on social media at @stjuderesearch.