Public Health Agency of Canada Expert Panel on Avian Influenza A(H5Nx) in Canada: Meetings

Meetings are closed to the public, but a summary of discussion is provided below for each meeting.

Past meetings:

January 2024
Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) Expert Panel on Avian Influenza A(H5Nx) Summary of Discussion (SOD) January 23, 2024
Agenda Item Summary

Opening Remarks

For Information

PHAC's Chief Science Officer (CSO) welcomed participants and provided opening remarks on behalf of the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, Dr. Theresa Tam.

PHAC's Vice President of the Infectious Disease and Vaccines Programs Branch provided an overview of the current situation for avian influenza A(H5Nx) in Canada and globally.

Agenda overview and administrative updates

For Information

The expert panel was informed that the webpage on Canada.ca was updated to include the members' affiliation and interest declarations, as well as the updated Terms of Reference reflecting additions from the inaugural meeting. Panelists were invited to raise additional declarations of interest with respect to the meetings' agenda items. Additional declarations were noted from one panelist and will be updated on the webpage.

The Summary of Discussion (SoD) from Meeting 1 was considered approved and will be posted on Canada.ca.

Key Issue: PHAC A(H5Nx) Preparedness

For Discussion

The Director General of PHAC's Centre for Emerging and Respiratory Infections and Pandemic Preparedness delivered a presentation on the Agency's A(H5Nx) preparedness, including action scenarios and triggers for federal public health action.

Panelists were invited to provide feedback on the preparedness framework, inflection points for increasing risk across scenarios, availability of data required to inform decisions, and the highest priority research gaps. Panelists expressed that the inflection points and scenarios made sense. Suggestions were made around visualization and science communications considerations. Panelists discussed where, from a One Health perspective and in the context of the preparedness framework, Canada could most effectively intervene to prevent spillover to humans.

Panelists asked about the status of preparedness actions and implementation.

Public Health Research Priorities for Avian Influenza A(H5Nx)

For Discussion

The CSO provided an overview of the latest emerging evidence and outlined recent updates to a draft synthesis of knowledge gaps and research needs for avian influenza A(H5Nx) being developed by PHAC's Office of the Chief Science Officer. A roundtable discussion solicited panelists' comments, recommendations and invited their identification of gaps considered to be of immediate importance in light of the current risk assessment posture in Canada. Key priorities raised related to proactive surveillance and early detection at the animal-human interface (including value of seroepidemiology studies), enablers of preparedness and response (e.g. sharing of data and control materials), public communications, uptake of interventions, as well as the importance of gathering and integrating Indigenous knowledges, particularly given reported changes in which species are being encountered in communities - perhaps due to changes in migration patterns.

The Office of the Chief Science Officer will continue to engage internally and with the A(H5Nx) expert panel to further refine, validate, and prioritize the knowledge gaps, which will be made publicly available.

Conclusions and Next Steps

For Information

Panelists were thanked for their continued contributions to discussions on this priority public health topic.

The Secretariat will prepare and circulate a meeting summary for panelists' review and will continue to engage on forward agenda planning for future expert panel meetings.

October 2023
Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) Expert Panel on Avian Influenza A(H5Nx) Summary of Discussion (SOD) October 18, 2023
Agenda Item Summary

Opening Remarks

For Information

The Chief Science Officer (CSO) of PHAC welcomed participants to the Inaugural virtual meeting. The Deputy Chief Public Health Officer of Canada provided opening remarks on behalf of the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada and delivered a brief overview of the current context for avian influenza in Canada and globally.

Review of Terms of Reference, Affiliations/Interests, Confidentiality

For Information

The CSO reviewed the Terms of Reference and invited comments and additional declarations of interest with respect to the meetings' agenda items.

Minor adjustments to the Terms of Reference were suggested by panelists and will be reflected in an updated version and re-circulated to the expert panel before publicly posting here.

Public Health Research Priorities for Avian Influenza A(H5Nx)

For Discussion

Expert panel participants reviewed a draft synthesis of knowledge gaps and research needs for avian influenza being developed by the PHAC Office of the Chief Science Officer (OCSO). An overview of the inputs and the process for development of the preliminary list was provided by the CSO.

Participants provided feedback on the document, including comprehensiveness, framing, and identifying additional research gaps not yet captured.

The Secretariat will update the document to reflect participants' feedback and will re-circulate to the expert panel at the subsequent meeting for further input, validation, and prioritization.

Key Issue: Antivirals

For Discussion

PHAC's Vice President of Infectious Disease and Vaccines Programs Branch (IDVPB) delivered a presentation on antivirals for preparedness. Following the presentation, panelists engaged in discussion on the role of antivirals within Canada's strategy.

Conclusions and Next Steps

For Information

The CSO expressed gratitude to the panelists for their attendance and participation in discussions on this important topic.

The Secretariat will prepare a meeting summary and will continue engaging within forward agenda planning for the expert panel.

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