Virological surveillance of influenza viruses in the WHO European Region in 2019/20 - impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

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The COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted the 2019/20 WHO European Region influenza surveillance. Compared with previous 4-year averages, antigenic and genetic characterisations decreased by 17% (3,140 vs 2,601) and 24% (4,474 vs 3,403). Of subtyped influenza A viruses, 56% (26,477/47,357) were A(H1)pdm09, 44% (20,880/47,357) A(H3). Of characterised B viruses, 98% (4,585/4,679) were B/Victoria. Considerable numbers of viruses antigenically differed from northern hemisphere vaccine components. In 2020/21, maintaining influenza virological surveillance, while supporting SARS-CoV-2 surveillance is crucial.

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Volume 25
Issue number 46
Pages 2001822
Available online
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