Sylvie Briand, WHO director of global infectious hazard preparedness, said ahead of the meeting. "We need to really continue the efforts for a flu pandemic. We are more prepared (than for COVID), but even if we are more prepared, we are not yet prepared enough."
The group of scientists, regulators and vaccine manufacturers meets twice a year to decide which strain of seasonal flu to include in the vaccine for the upcoming winter season, in this case for the northern hemisphere.
But it is also a chance to discuss the risk of animal viruses spilling over to humans and causing a pandemic. At this week's meeting, H5N1 clade 220.127.116.11b was a key topic, the World Health Organization (WHO) and global flu experts told Reuters.