St. Jude is a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center focused exclusively on the threat to humans from influenza viruses of animals. It is one of six WHO Collaborating Centers operating under the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS).
St. Jude was first designated as a World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Influenza in 1975 and has retained that distinction for 40 years.
St. Jude works closely with the five other GISRS WHO collaborating centers in Atlanta, Beijing, London, Melbourne and Tokyo to guide global influenza research and response. Center personnel travel to Geneva, Switzerland, twice a year to participate in meetings to formulate the yearly flu shot and review emerging influenza viruses of public health concern.
In collaboration with staff in our on-campus Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) facility, the St. Jude center produces and distributes materials, including materials used to make influenza vaccines, for use against some of the emerging viruses. In addition, St. Jude serves as a reference laboratory for diagnosing certain flu strains and our experts routinely collaborate with global partners to help guide the public health response whenever disease outbreaks occur.
Many different influenza viruses circulate in the world’s animal populations. These viruses sometimes cross to humans, causing limited numbers of infections. Less often, these viruses mutate into forms that are able to spread between humans, causing global pandemics.
The St. Jude WHO Collaborating Center’s unique expertise stems from decades of study focused on the threat to humans from influenza viruses of animals. This expertise has proven extremely valuable in tracing the animal source of flu outbreaks in recent years.
Our vision is that the St. Jude WHO Collaborating Center will continue to provide timely research and expert guidance to prevent and control influenza outbreaks for decades to come.