Infectious disease experts from the US National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization warn that current approaches to seasonal influenza vaccine development have left the United States relatively defenseless against the influenza A (H3N2) strain.

Writing in a recent perspectives article in the New England Journal of Medicine, the authors, including Catharine I. Paules, MD, and Anthony S. Fauci, MD, from the Office of the Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, Maryland, and Sheena G. Sullivan, MPH, PhD, and Kanta Subbarao, MB, MPH, from the WHO Collaborating Center for Reference and Research on Influenza, Melbourne, Australia, say data from the recent influenza season in Australia should put the United States on alert regarding the upcoming influenza season.

Moreover, they call for a “transformative approach” to a universal vaccine, rather than the seasonal, strain-specific one currently used. They also recommend ditching egg-based vaccine propagation in favor of cell culture or the recombinant DNA baculovirus system.