Seasonal influenza vaccination and technologies

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Seasonal influenza is a serious respiratory illness that causes annual worldwide epidemics resulting in significant morbidity and mortality. Influenza pandemics occur about every 40 yrs, and may carry a greater burden of illness and death than seasonal influenza. Both seasonal influenza and pandemic influenza have profound economic consequences. The combination of current vaccine efficacy and viral antigenic drifts and shifts necessitates annual vaccination. New manufacturing technologies in influenza vaccine development employ cell culture and recombinant techniques. Both allow more rapid vaccine creation and production. In the past 5 years, brisk, highly creative activity in influenza vaccine research and development has begun. New vaccine technologies and vaccination strategies are addressing the need for viable alternatives to egg production methods and improved efficacy. At present, stubborn problems of sub-optimal efficacy and the need for annual immunization persist. There is an obvious need for more efficacious vaccines and improved vaccination strategies to make immunization easier for providers and patients. Mitigating this serious annual health threat remains an important public health priority.

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