WHO working group meeting to amend WHO Recommendations to assure the quality, safety and efficacy of live attenuated yellow fever vaccines

Javier Martin, Alan David Thomas Barrett, Dianliang Lei, Philip Minor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current WHO Recommendations to assure the quality, safety and efficacy of live attenuated yellow fever vaccines were adopted in 2010. This document recommends that vaccine virus master and working seed lots should be tested for viscerotropism, immunogenicity and neurovirulence in monkeys. A vaccine manufacturer has reported, recently, discrepancies on the clinical scoring of monkeys during assessment of working seed lots and suggested aligning neurotropism assessment of yellow fever vaccines virus seed lots with that of neurovirulence testing of polio vaccines virus seed lots. In this approach, clinical signs are recorded but do not form part of the assessment or pass/fail criteria. At its 71st meeting in August 2020, the ECBS agreed to establish a drafting group and to consult with manufacturers and other stakeholders on the proposed amendment. Then a survey had been conducted to seek opinions of stakeholders on the neurotropism testing and revision of current WHO Recommendations for yellow fever vaccines. It was recognized from the answers of the survey that the test for neurovirulence in monkeys presents several technical challenges which could be addressed in the amended version of the Recommendations. On 18–19 March 2021, a virtual WHO working group meeting was held to discuss a proposed draft of the amended text with participants of yellow fever vaccine manufacturers and relevant regulators. Overall, there was a consensus among manufacturers and regulators that clinical evaluation provides important information and should be retained as part of the neurotropism test. However, there was also agreement that the test is somewhat subjective, and that analysis can be difficult. It was recognized that there was potential for improvement in both test execution and analysis to increase harmonization between manufacturers. Alternative tests to the non-human primates neurovirulence test would be useful but it was agreed that none seem to be sufficiently developed at present. Based on these working group discussions, it was proposed that the appendix on neurotropism test to be further revised by the WHO drafting group and submitted to ECBS for review and adoption. Issues other than neurotropism test were discussed in the meeting as well. There were a number of points identified during the meeting, such as new platform of production, animal models, deep sequencing, international standards, that are outside the current recommendations that are worthy of further discussion. Therefore, it is recommended that there would be a future meeting with various stakeholders to discuss the potential revision of the whole Recommendations for yellow fever vaccines in order to meet the current needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3490-3494
Number of pages5
Issue number26
StatePublished - Jun 9 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Neurotropism testing
  • Virus seed lot
  • WHO Recommendations
  • Yellow fever vaccines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Veterinary
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'WHO working group meeting to amend WHO Recommendations to assure the quality, safety and efficacy of live attenuated yellow fever vaccines'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this