WHO flu chief leaves for Novartis

Klaus Stöhr steps down as leader of international efforts against pandemic influenza to guide company's vaccine development

kerry grens
Kerry Grens

Kerry served as The Scientist’s news director until 2021. Before joining The Scientist in 2013, she was a stringer for Reuters Health, the senior health and science reporter at...

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Klaus Stöhr, former head of the World Health Organization's (WHO) Global Influenza Programme, stepped down this month to take a position with Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, leading the company's development of seasonal and H5N1 influenza vaccines. At the WHO, Stöhr was known as a visible advocate of developing vaccines against the H5N1 strain of influenza and worked to assemble national policies for surveillance and preparedness against a flu pandemic. Because of Stöhr's efforts, "the imperative of having to develop a better influenza vaccine for seasonal flu and a vaccine for pandemic flu is on the front burner," Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told The Scientist. "He got the ball rolling," Fauci said. A spokesperson at the WHO said there has not been a direct replacement for Stöhr's position. Albert Osterhaus, virology professor at Erasmus Medical Center in...

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