Our friends in Australia and New Zealand have provided us with further insight into the situation there, with implication for what kind of season we may expect (at least for the first half of the influenza season) in the northern hemisphere. We are so very thankful to our colleagues for this information.
In Australia, the antigenic typing results did not detect much antigenic drift for majority of their A(H3N2) viruses and the antigenic typing results showed that they were similar to A/Perth/16/2009-like strain. However, genetic analysis indicated a minor drift and these A(H3N2) viruses are characterised as A/Victoria/361/2011-like viruses. The Australian Department of Health and Ageing noted that it is expected that the vaccine would still offer significant protection. This is based on the fact that the drift between the A/Perth/16/2009-like and A/Victoria/361/2011-like viruses is small.