In contrast to influenza A viruses, which have been investigated extensively, influenza B viruses have attracted relatively little attention. However, influenza B viruses are an important cause of morbidity and mortality in the human population and full understanding of their biological and epidemiological properties is imperative to better control this important pathogen. However, some of its characteristics are still elusive and warrant investigation. Here, we review evolution, epidemiology, pathogenesis and immunity and identify gaps in our knowledge of influenza B viruses. The divergence of two antigenically distinct influenza B viruses is highlighted. The co-circulation of viruses of these two lineages necessitated the development of quadrivalent influenza vaccines, which is discussed in addition to possibilities to develop universal vaccination strategies.

animal models, evolution, human, immunity, influenza B virus, lineages, natural hosts, pathogenesis, tropism,
Future Microbiology
Department of Virology

van de Sandt, C.E, Bodewes, R, Rimmelzwaan, G.F, & de Vries, R.D. (2015). Influenza B viruses: Not to be discounted. Future Microbiology (Vol. 10, pp. 1447–1465). doi:10.2217/fmb.15.65