An analysis of 10 years’ worth of data on human influenza B viruses has shed new light on the pathogen which can cause the seasonal flu. Children are more susceptible than adults to influenza B virus lineages, especially the Victoria lineage, say Duke University researchers, who recommend this younger population be targeted for the use of the quadrivalent influenza vaccines.

Commonly administered influenza vaccines are generally composed of two influenza A lineage viruses – but only one influenza B lineage virus. Recently, quadrivalent influenza vaccines, which target all four lineages, have been approved for use. However, they are significantly more difficult to prepare, more expensive and have limited availability. This new study shows that it may be important to use these vaccines for a specific population.