Following the emergence of swine influenza A(H3N2)v viruses with sporadic human infections in North America, ECDC releases two technical reports assessing the capability of influenza reference laboratories in Europe to detect this novel virus, should it appear in Europe.
The Community Network of Reference Laboratories for Human Influenza in Europe (CNRL) in silico exercise to determine the capabilities of network laboratories to detect triple reassortant swine origin (TRA) influenza A(H3N2) viruses is based on results from 35 laboratories in 29 countries that participated in this exercise to assess the predicted detection of TRA A(H3N2) viruses using a theoretical, computer-based (in silico) approach. This exercise proved to be useful in highlighting development requirements and gaps in detection and identification capabilities for potential emerging influenza A TRA viruses of swine origin.
The report on Influenza A(H3N2)v laboratory detection questionnaire results explores the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction capability of influenza reference laboratories in EU/EEA countries to detect A(H3N2)v viruses in their day-to-day diagnostics and to subtype them as swine-origin variant viruses. The results indicate that with current capabilities, the variant viruses would be detected in Europe although some of them would not be subtyped and identified as variant viruses.
ECDC’s future influenza virology network activities will take into account emergence of animal influenza viruses in human samples and the need of rapid information exchange between laboratories in regard to actions required to update their methods of detection for new viruses.
The CNRL laboratory network includes nominated expert representatives from laboratories within 27 EU Member States and two EEA countries (Norway and Iceland). The main objective of the network is to carry out virological surveillance of human influenza and ensure that data are shared through the European Influenza Surveillance Network reporting mechanisms in a timely manner.