About Us
What We Do
History and Governance
Doherty Institute
Centre Staff
Contact and Location

WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza (VIDRL)
Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity
792 Elizabeth Street
Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia

T +61 3 9342 9300
F +61 3 9342 9329

What We Do

We are one of five WHO Collaborating Centres for Reference and Research on Influenza that analyse specimens and virus isolates from influenza patients around the globe. Throughout the year we collect and analyse human influenza viruses for epidemiological, antigenic (immune response) and genetic characteristics. Data from all five Collaborating Centres are reviewed to determine which circulating influenza strains are predominant in the community and therefore would be appropriate components of seasonal vaccines. Twice a year WHO makes a recommendation based on these data on influenza strains to be included in the vaccine for the coming influenza season in the northern hemisphere (recommendation made in February) and the southern hemisphere (recommendation made in September). The final decision on the composition of vaccines in each country is the responsibility of relevant national authorities.

In addition to surveillance, our staff at the Influenza Centre also engage in research, training and education activities. More detailed information about our centre activities can be found here.

Terms of Reference (2015-2019):

  1. to obtain, isolate and preserve representative viruses from outbreaks and sporadic cases of influenza, and characterise their antigenic and other relevant properties, including resistance to anti-influenza drugs;
  2. to exchange information and new antigenic variants of influenza viruses with other WHO Collaborating Centres for Reference and Research on Influenza and with Essential Regulatory Laboratories;
  3. to assist WHO in developing recommendations on viruses to be included in influenza vaccines;
  4. to provide training and laboratory support to WHO National Influenza Centres and other laboratories, especially those in the developing world, in specialised techniques for diagnosis, isolation and characterisation of influenza viruses, according to their needs;
  5. to collect epidemiological information on the prevalence of influenza, especially in countries and areas in the Region;
  6. to undertake research to improve the detection, prevention and treatment of influenza;
  7. to assist WHO and national health authorities in developing and implementing plans for responding to pandemic influenza; and
  8. to comply with the Terms of Reference for WHO Collaborating Centres for Influenza related to work with Pandemic Influenza Preparedness biological materials as specified in Annex 5 of the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework.