Entries by annickmannaerts

A universal influenza vaccine

Influenza viruses have a great capacity to mutate and change. Current flu vaccines are safe and effective, but they have to be updated annually to match the epidemic strains and occasionally there is a mismatch with the circulating virus strains. There is hence a great need for new vaccines that can induce broad protective immunity […]


The H5N1 strain has been circulating across the vast expanse of the Earth for more than a decade, occasionally causing human fatalities. H5N1 has already proven its killing capabilities. More than half of the 600 people who were infected have died. But in almost all cases, their infection was due to contact with birds. H5N1 […]

Quadrivalent influenza vaccines

Quadrivalent flu vaccines are designed to protect against four different flu viruses instead of three: two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses. For years, flu vaccines were designed to protect against three different flu viruses (trivalent). This included an influenza A H1N1 virus, an influenza A H3N2 virus and one B virus. Experts […]

Antiviral resistance

Antiviral resistance implies that a virus has changed in such a way that the antiviral drug is less effective in treating or preventing illnesses with that virus. Influenza viruses can become resistant to influenza antiviral drugs. Currently two drugs are mostly recommended for the treatment of influenza, in Europe these are oseltamivir (trade name Tamiflu) […]

What is seasonal flu?

Seasonal influenza, often called ‘the flu’, is an infectious disease of the respiratory tract caused by an influenza virus and spread efficiently from person to person. Outbreaks of seasonal flu follow largely predictable seasonal patterns and occur annually. In the temperate climate zones, they occur predominantly in the winter months and may emerge from late […]

Important factors for flu virus transmission

What are the most important factors that determine influenza virus transmission to humans? Whether an influenza A virus will be transmitted from birds to humans primarily depends on two factors: the nature of the exposure to infected birds or their products and the susceptibility to infection with the influenza virus concerned. Initially, it was speculated […]

Animal to human flu virus transmission

How are influenza viruses transmited from animals to humans? Many different animals, including birds such as ducks, geese, gulls and domestic poultry, and mammals such as pigs, whales, horses, dogs and seals, can be infected with influenza viruses. Remarkably, however, certain subtypes of influenza are solely or predominantly found in certain animal species. Birds, of […]